Comprehensively-measured authoritarianism does predict vote choice: The importance of authoritarianism's facets, ideological sorting, and the particular candidate

Steven G Ludeke*, Camilla N. Klitgaard, Joseph Vitriol

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Commonly used measures of authoritarian predispositions have received mixed support as a predictor of political preferences in American elections. Using new survey data (N = 1,444), we demonstrated how imprecise conceptualization and measurement of authoritarianism can obscure its relationship to candidate preferences. First, authoritarians have largely sorted into the Republican Party and self-identified as conservative, thereby attenuating the predictive power of authoritarianism when such features are used as controls or selection criteria. Second, the authoritarianism measure typically used in election studies covers a limited range of the construct, specifically focusing on the facet of authoritarianism we observed to be least associated with support for Republicans candidates in the 2016 American electoral context. We find predictive gains both from more comprehensive measurement of authoritarianism and from analyzing facet-level authoritarianism.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Volume123
Pages (from-to)209-216
ISSN0191-8869
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018

Keywords

  • Attitude measurement
  • Authoritarianism
  • Donald Trump
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Political preferences
  • Voting behavior

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