Are Confident Partisans Disloyal? The Role of Defensive Confidence in Party Defection

People who feel comfortable defending their views—defensively confident—may also eventually change those views and corresponding behaviors. National Election Studies surveys showed that defensive confidence predicted defection in the 2006 U.S. House elections, above and beyond the impact of various demographic and political variables. Moreover, defensive confidence was also associated with political knowledge and attention to politics and government affairs, but not attention to the news. Finally, males, more educated citizens, ethnic minorities, and older respondents had higher reported defensive confidence than did females, less educated citizens, European Americans, and younger respondents. Defensive confidence may be a crucial factor for a deeper understanding of political behavior.

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