Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of Politics

DOI of Published Version


Start Page


End Page



Group cleavages and coalitions have long been an important aspect of how politicians view everyday American politics. Moreover, there is growing evidence which suggests that during recent years groups as actors in the political arena, and perceived group differences, have become increasingly visible to the public and more important in determining the political behavior of the average citizen. Most importantly, the types of group voters themselves associate with and the extent to which these groups are connected with the parties or particular candidates has important implications for structuring voters' political decisions. Analyses of correlations between thermometer ratings of various social groups and political parties indicate the public does indeed link parties and groups in their political thinking. Certain clusters of groups are generally associated with each party, thereby suggesting perceptions of party coalitions. Empirical evidence from a multivariate analysis for both 1972 and 1984 suggests that how people feel about social groups associated with the parties not only structures their partisan orientation but strongly influences candidate evaluations and voting behavior.

Journal Article Version

Version of Record

Published Article/Book Citation

The Journal of Politics, 53:4 (1991) pp. 1134-1149.


Copyright © 1991 Southern Political Science Association. Used by permission.