Danielle Thomsen

Award Information

Negotiating Agreement in Congress Research Grants 2017

Do Primary Voters Want Partisan Polarization?

Primary voters are widely believed to be a driving force behind partisan polarization, but there is a dearth of data on how they perceive extreme and moderate candidates. This project examines whether primary voters are less supportive of ideologues when they receive information about partisan conflict in Congress. I use experimental data to test whether primary voters are more likely to support moderates when their vote choice is connected to congressional polarization. While the conventional wisdom is that primary voters are motivated by ideological extremity above all else, I analyze the conditions under which they may select moderates over ideologues.