Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles
Jin, Rongbo, Alexander Cloudt, Seoungin Choi, Joy Jia, and Samara Klar. The Policy Blame Game: How Polarization Distorts Democratic Accountability across the Local, State, and Federal Level. State Politics & Policy Quarterly
Replication Files Click Here
Gonzalez, Frank, Rongbo Jin, Ianne Wang. Racial and ethnic variation in the negativity bias–ideology connection: A registered report. Politics and Life Sciences.
Replication Files Click Here
This is a registered report for a study of racial and ethnic variation in the relationship between negativity bias and political attitudes. Pioneering work on the psychological and biological roots of political orientation has suggested that political conservatism is driven in large part by enhanced negativity bias. This work has been criticized on several theoretical fronts, and recent replication attempts have failed. To dig deeper into the contours of when (and among whom) negativity bias predicts conservatism, we investigate a surprisingly overlooked factor in existing literature: race and ethnicity. We propose that political issues represent threat or disgust in different ways depending on one’s race and ethnicity. We recruited 174 White, Latinx, and Asian American individuals (in equal numbers) to examine how the relationship between negativity bias and political orientation varies by race/ethnicity across four domains: policing/criminal justice, immigration, economic redistribution, and religious social conservatism.
Jin, Rongbo, Samara Klar, Fabian Neuner, Mark Ramirez. How Cross-Cutting Ties Reduce Affective Polarization: Evidence from Latino Americans. (Revise and Resubmit at Political Behavior)
Affective polarization is attributed, at least in part, to fewer cross-cutting identities across parties. We expect that politically diverse communities with salient cross-party identities should report lower out-party animosity. We argue that Latinos comprise one such community, with both political diversity and important cross-cutting ties. We test our theory across multiple datasets and one experiment. First, we show that crosscutting identities do predict warmer out-party affect overall. We then demonstrate that Latinos hold more cross-cutting identities relative to non-Latino whites. Our data reveal that, in fact, Latinos hold significantly warmer views of the out-party--especially when it comes to out-partisans from within the Latino community. This study shows that affective polarization is less prevalent among Latinos, one of the fastest-growing proportions of the American electorate. Broadly, this contributes to existing work arguing that political behavior among whites should not be extrapolated across ethnic groups without considering the uniqueness of each community.
Jin, Rongbo. Partisan Prototype-Driven Affective Polarization. (Job market paper; In preparartion for under review)
Whom do partisans hate? What is the target when people claim they dislike people from the opposing party? Previous research has established that affective polarization is marked by both ingroup favoritism and outgroup animosity. However, extant works fully ignored intra-party variation with these two parties. This paper argues that political parties are composed of individuals with varying degrees of typicality and that individuals are more likely to think of partisan prototypes (political elites and engaged voters) when considering the parties. Across five studies (n=67,773), I found first, the targets of partisan animosity are partisan prototypes—feeling thermometer to the parties mainly reflect individuals’ feeling towards political elites and engaged voters but not nonvoters; second, affective polarization towards political elites and their followers are more extreme than that towards ordinary people, nonvoters, and the parties as groups; third, Democrats exhibit greater animosity towards MAGA Republicans than towards Establishment Republicans, while Republicans show higher levels of animosity towards Progressive Democrats than towards Establishment Democrats. Notably, affective polarization is primarily directed at political elites and their followers rather than ordinary people, particularly nonvoters. By comparing affective polarization towards targets of varying degrees of prototypicality, this paper not only contributes to our understanding of the nature of affective polarization, but also enlighten scholars to think about depolarization strategies.
Jin, Rongbo. Partisans or Americans? Priming American national identity reduces affective polarization among Hispanics but not Whites. (Under Review)
A growing body of literature is dedicated to examining approaches that can mitigate affective polarization. One particularly promising intervention involves establishing a Common Ingroup Identity (CII) through priming American national identity. However, few studies have investigated the conditions under which this intervention is effective. This paper seeks to address this puzzle by examining the circumstances under which priming American national identity can successfully reduce affective polarization. By utilizing cross-sectional surveys from the American National Election Studies 2012- 2020, as well as a survey experiment that oversampled Hispanic participants, this paper reveals two key findings. First, national identity is closely attached to partisanship and political ideology among Whites, but less so among Hispanics. Second, priming national identity can only reduce affective polarization when national identity is less correlated to partisan identification and political ideology, such as among Hispanics. Conversely, priming national identity fails to reduce affective polarization when it is closely tied to sub-group identities, such as among Whites. This paper not only tests the robustness of priming national identity in reducing affective polarization, but more importantly, identifies the circumstances under which this intervention can be successful: when the superordinate identity is uncorrelated to sub-group identities.
Jin, Rongbo, and Phil Jones. Political awareness and sorting. (Under Review)
Sorting – the phenomenon that individuals who share an ideological identity and/or social identities increasingly select into the same party – drives affective polarization between Democrats and Republicans in the US. However, how sorting has changed over time and who is more likely to sort along partisan lines is less understood. We argue that choosing the “correct” partisan group to align with one’s social identities requires political awareness, such that the most engaged individuals are most likely to be sorted. Relying on ANES surveys from 1972, we first show that both partisan-ideological sorting and social sorting increased in the past few decades. Not all voters were equally likely to sort, however: more-aware individuals are more likely to be sorted. The gap on sorting between the least and most aware has narrowed as party elites have become more polarized.
Jin, Rongbo, and Frank Gonzalez. Authoritarians Support Their Ingroup, Not the System. (Under Review)
Authoritarians exhibit a high degree of submission to authorities perceived as legitimate and adhering to social conventions. This seems to suggest authoritarianism runs parallel to system justification because both involve adherence to rules, leaders, and traditions. However, we argue authoritarianism is more ingroup-focused than system-focused. As such, rather than supporting the system regardless of how it affects their ingroup, we expect authoritarians to support the system when it protects their ingroup but reject it when it threatens their ingroup. Using the American National Election Study (1992-2020) – we examine status-based differences in how authoritarianism relates to attitudes toward two systems: the government and the economy. We find that while authoritarianism leads low- (but not high-) status individuals to support the government, it leads high- (but not low-) status individuals to support wealth inequality and meritocratic principles. We consider our findings in terms of understanding authoritarianism as well as shedding light on when, if ever, low-status individuals support their own oppression.
Jin, Rongbo, and Chad Westerland. Judicial Sorting: Polarized Attitudes Towards the US Supreme Court.
Are individual attitudes towards Supreme Court divided along partisan lines? Conventional wisdom argues that the legitimacy or support for the Supreme Court is potentially insulated from partisan polarization because it is rooted within democratic values and positivity bias towards the Court. Alternatively, we suggest that “judicial sorting” has occurred in recent elections, mainly through the highly partisan nature of the politics of Supreme Court confirmations. The core insight behind judicial sorting is adapted from political sorting, which finds that fewer liberals identify with Republican party and fewer conservatives identify with Democrats. If this sorting mechanism applies to evaluations of the Court, the recent appointments to the Court should lead Republicans to perceive the Supreme Court as a conservative institution that is aligned with Republican party, while Democrats should have an increasingly negative view of the Court. Using large-scale nationally representative datasets American National Election Study (1988-2020), we find that in recent elections, Republicans have much more positive evaluation on the Supreme Court than Democrats. Additionally, among Republicans, affective polarization is positively associated with positive affect towards the Supreme Court, while this association is negative among Democrats. Given polarization and the salience of partisan identities, the Supreme Court, which has been at least partially insulated from partisan polarization in the past, cannot escape from the orientation of ingroup favoritism and outgroup derogation.