Russell J. Dalton
Party identification plays a central role in most models of electoral behaviour. It provides the ultimate heuristic that guides voter choice, shapes perceptions of issues and candidates, and stimulates electoral participation. However, scholars debate whether these partisan cues accurately reflect citizens’ political interests and adjust to political events, or whether they shape perceptions to fit prior party leanings. This chapter reviews the research debate on the content and meaning of partisan cues, illustrates some of the evidence of motivated partisan reasoning, and concludes by discussing the implications of these patterns for our understanding of partisanship and citizen behaviour.