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Maruice Mangum, "Party competence perceptions and the party identification of African Americans," Party Politics, 20 (May 2014), 357-367 [Available at ]

First paragraph:
Party identification is a psychological attachment toward a political party (Campbell et al., 1960). Scholars have explained party identification and its effects on issue positions, presidential approval, turnout and voting behaviour (Miller and Shanks, 1996). These studies focused on the party identification of Whites. Much attention has been given to studying the party identification of Whites. In comparison, very little has been given to understanding African-Americans' party identification and partisanship. I seek to fill that void. Additionally, works that focus on the party identification of African Americans paint a simplified picture of African Americans. I examine the effects of perceived party competence (effectiveness in handling problems and dealing with issues) on the decision African Americans make in partnering with the Democratic and Republican parties. That is, I examine the relationship between African- Americans' perceptions of the abilities of the two major political parties to handle key issues and their to identify themselves with either party.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Crosstabs of party competence variables by political party,
Table 2. Models of African-Americans' party identification.
Table 3. Factor analysis of party competence variables.
Appendix: Description of variables (predicted direction)

Last Paragraph:
With increasing discontent and disappointment with President Obama, some African Americans might believe the Democratic Party is not as competent in certain policy areas. Therefore, this fosters the belief that the Republican Party is better at handling foreign affairs, the budget deficit and the national economy. While the Republicans in the U.S. Congress have not been cooperating with President Obama, African-American support is not theirs to lose. Republicans can only gain African-American support when Democrats are perceived as ineffective. This does not necessarily mean that African Americans will become identifiers of the Republican Party, but it may mean that they will identify themselves less with the Democratic Party. To thwart this possibility, it behooves the Democratic Party to be more liberal on economic policies than it has been of late to retain the support of African Americans.

Last updated April 2014