Authoritarianism, Elections, and Partisan Sorting

Authoritarianism, Elections, and Partisan Sorting

There has been a great deal of recent attention to democratic backsliding and growing authoritarian around the world. What’s missing, however, is an account of how authoritarianism can become a major determinant of voting in democratic nations. Using three decades of election survey data in the U.S. I show how Democratic and Republican identifiers have increasingly diverged in levels of authoritarian predispositions. These changes in partisanship over time are a joint function of the increased salience of issues that align with an authoritarianism dimension and presidential candidates and elections that signal to voters which parties are consistent with their authoritarian predispositions. To demonstrate the applicability of this dynamic outside of the U.S. I will also show how authoritarian predispositions influenced voting in the 2019 UK election.

Stanley Feldman is a Toll Professor of Political Science at Stony Brook University. His research focuses broadly on the structure of political ideology and values, and the psychological bases of attitudes and opinions. His work has examined the impact of personality characteristics on political attitudes, particularly authoritarianism. He is a past president of the International Society for Political Psychology and past president of the Political Methodology section of the American Political Science Association. 


Date & time

Thu 18 Apr 2024, 11am–12.30pm


RSSS Room 3.72 or Online via Zoom


Stanley Feldman (Stony Brook University)


Richard Frank


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