Gaps in Political Knowledge by Race and Ethnicity

Project: Research project

Project Details


Candidates take positions on a variety of issues. On some of these issues, candidates promise, and on others candidates weakly signal their position. I argue that the use of promises corresponds to a strategic implementation of issue ownership. To examine this theory so far, I use text analysis of presidential position statements found in debates from 1960 through 2012 to illustrate the variety of commitment expressed through positions and how they correspond to partisan issues and narratives. The results illustrate how increasing levels of issue ownership change have contributed to more narrow discussion by partisan candidates. It follows however, that voters will reinforce this by contesting promises made on non-party owned issues. This proposal seeks to address how voters treat these candidate promises. This work contributes to our understanding of partisan rhetoric by first documenting presidential promises, and then empirically measuring how speech reflects candidate commitments, corresponds to issue ownership.
Effective start/end date8/1/184/30/21


  • American Political Science Association (Award Letter 10/25/19)


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