Research Handbook on Political Partisanship
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Research Handbook on Political Partisanship

Edited by Henrik Oscarsson and Sören Holmberg

Based on cutting-edge global data, the Research Handbook of Political Partisanship argues that partisanship is down, but not out, in contemporary democracies. Engaging with key scholarly debates, from the rise of right-wing partisanship to the effects of digitalization on partisanship, contributions highlight the significance of political partisanship not only in the present but in the future of democracies internationally.
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Chapter 9: Measuring party attachments with survey questionnaires

Martin Rosema and Sabrina J. Mayer


In the study of voter behaviour, survey questionnaires have long been central. The American National Election Studies, which started in 1952 in the United States, were used as a template for similar long-standing election surveys in several countries in Europe. The American survey questions on party identification have become a standard for measuring party attachments, albeit that to be able to apply them in other countries and in cross-national research they had to be adjusted. This chapter presents an inventory of the most widely used survey items that measure party attachments, analyses how they link up to different conceptualizations of partisanship, including negative partisanship and multiple partisanship, and assesses their measurement quality. The review includes several suggested alternatives for question wording as well as the use of multi-item indices. The chapter concludes with recommendations for the measurement of partisanship in future research.

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