Purdue University Graduate School
EOsorio-Partisanship and satisfaction with democracy-Reviewed (REVISED 07-24-2023).pdf (2.91 MB)


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posted on 2023-08-03, 20:37 authored by Eliza Maria Osorio CastroEliza Maria Osorio Castro

Negative partisanship, which stems from negative affect towards an opposing party, exerts influence on evaluations of democratic performance (see Ridge 2020; Spoon and Kanthak 2019), but we still need to add more pieces to the puzzle of negative partisanship. To contribute to this literature, I examine negative partisans against another group with similar parameters on the negative side of the spectrum. I argue that our partisanship is not unidimensional, negative positions could exist beyond one party, and we could be negatively inclined to more than one party. 

The experience of democracies is used as a baseline to analyze the systemic effects on satisfaction with democracy over both types of partisans. First, social identities are explored to establish the foundation of the proposed partisans. Findings showed that negative partisans are affected by two motivators: marginalization and a threat to the status quo. In some cases, clear trends were uncovered regardless of the status of democracy, and some others diverged by context and became clearer when democratic settings were explored. Evidence also showed that the regime’s status as consolidated or young democracy plays an important role when negative partisans ponder how their democracy is performing. Finally, when emotional piling happens, satisfaction with democracy is affected negatively due to vulnerability to frustration. 

The background of the regime is another piece that differentiates negative partisans because democracies built on ideological post-communist regimes are not the same as a background of one-party rule or a military regime. Findings showed that institutional pacts from these regimes through authoritarian successor parties are not as negative in the effects from parties that are the product of the new regime. Also, satisfaction over time certainly makes negative partisans more comfortable with democracies, regardless of the setbacks and even how polarized the systems are. Moreover, systemic elements affect negative partisans’ perception of democracy’s performance through compensatory and non-compensatory mechanisms. Negative partisans behave differently not only in different democratic settings but also when they are following the rules to elect representatives. They are affected more negatively in their satisfaction when their partisanship is stronger or without the influence of a party. This context is exacerbated when the electoral design or system has dynamics that incentivize rivalry compared to “include all” or mixed designs. This study adds elements to the literature of negative partisanship and opens new lines to examine negative partisans worldwide. 


Degree Type

  • Doctor of Philosophy


  • Political Science

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Dr. James McCann

Additional Committee Member 2

Dr. Francisco Cantú

Additional Committee Member 3

Dr. Valeria Sinclair Chapman

Additional Committee Member 4

Dr. Rosalee Clawson

Additional Committee Member 5

Dr. Eric Waltenburg

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