Party Image and Intra-Party Dissent in American Politics: The Equal Rights Amendment and Democratic Economic Policy Conflict
In political science, the study of party image seeks to understand and explain how voters perceive and conceptualize the major political parties. Through the evaluation of open-ended questions asked by the American National Election Studies (ANES), scholars find that voters hold differing assessments of the two major political parties, the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Voters are more likely to view the Democratic Party favorably (and the Republican Party unfavorably) on issues concerning economic policy. Similarly, voters are more likely to see the Republican Party favorably (and the Democratic Party unfavorably) on matters of ideology and party philosophy. Many of these differences highlight the role of partisan divisions and disagreement on issues of high salience. Partisan conflict plays a paramount role in virtually every aspect of the American political sphere. However, little recognition or distinction is awarded to the effect of internal party conflict on how voters evaluate the major political parties. Intra-party dynamics play a lesser-known, yet essential role on how voters view the parties, and the fluctuation in the electorate's levels of favorability, specifically on issues of remarkable salience.