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Department of Political Science

South Carolina’s Dan Lyons and Susan Miller on partisan effects in approval of political actors

Daniel Lyons and Susan Miller have an article forthcoming in American Politics Research, "Partisan alignment and citizen approval of political actors." Using a survey experiment, they consider the effect of positive performance information on elected officials’ approval, contrasting respondents' approval of governors (i.e., policy generalists) and elected education agency heads (i.e., policy specialists). They find that, among respondents who do not share partisanship with the official, favorable performance information has a greater positive effect for policy specialists than generalists, while the effect is not statistically distinct for copartisan respondents. These results highlight one way in which shared partisanship may be less influential for evaluations of elected specialists than generalists. This article contributes to the discussion of accountability and its relationship with institutional structures. The potential variation in the impact of partisanship is particularly relevant in the increasingly polarized US political climate.

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