Identity and Engagement among Political Independents in America

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Political behavior among independents has been documented for decades, yet we are left with limited insight into their political engagement. What, if anything, motivates independents to engage in politics? In this study, I apply psychological theories of attitude importance to explain high variation in political-engagement levels among independents. Using two recent datasets, I find engagement levels are comparable across independents and partisans, yet predictors of their engagement differ substantially. Ideological strength predicts engagement for partisans-but not for independents. Instead, my data show that independents' engagement is best predicted by the importance they place on their independent identity. These data provide evidence that independence is a meaningful political identity and that identity importance is a key to explaining what motivates the independent voter to engage with politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-591
Number of pages15
JournalPolitical Psychology
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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Politics
Psychological Theory
psychological theory
political identity
politics
political behavior
voter
evidence
Datasets

Keywords

  • Attitude strength
  • Identity importance
  • Independent voters
  • Political engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Social Psychology
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Philosophy

Cite this

Identity and Engagement among Political Independents in America. / Klar, Samara M.

In: Political Psychology, Vol. 35, No. 4, 2014, p. 577-591.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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