Abstract

In the midst of unprecedented partisan polarization in the voting public and congressional gridlock in Washington, research in moral psychology has implicated reliance on differing moral value foundations between liberals and conservatives as a determinant of partisan divides. While Moral Foundations Theory (MFT) research has highlighted the effect of moral values on a variety of issues, little research has explained their effect on psychological factors and voting behavior related to fiscal concerns. Guided by Betancourt’s integrative model for studying culture, psychological factors, and behavior, the present study investigated the extent to which socially shared moral value foundations influence psychological reactions to a politician’s support for a compromising balanced fiscal policy, and related voting intentions among Democrats and Republicans. Five hundred twenty-three Democratic (n = 300) and Republican (n = 223) participants were recruited using convenience and snowball sampling. As proposed, participants who endorsed socially binding moral values (e.g. authority, purity, and in-group loyalty) had stronger emotional and cognitive reactions to a politician’s support for a compromising balanced fiscal policy, which affected their intention to vote for that politician. This effect was indirect, through attribution-emotion processes, and moderated by party affiliation, such that reactions were negative for Republicans and positive for Democrats. Results suggest that moral values may lead voters to elect politicians who are farther from the political center, perpetuating gridlock.

LLU Discipline

Clinical Psychology

Department

Psychology

School

School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Betancourt, Hector

Second Advisor

Flynn, Patricia M.

Third Advisor

Hodges, Monica

Fourth Advisor

Morrell, Holly E. R.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level

Ph.D.

Year Degree Awarded

2015

Date (Title Page)

9-2015

Language

English

Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Elections - United States - Psychological Aspects; Election forecasting - Moral and ethical aspects; Voting - United States - Psychological Aspects; Values - Political aspects;

Subject - Local

Partisan polarization; Gridlock; Moral Foundations Theory; Compromise; Socially Binding Moral Values

Type

Dissertation

Page Count

66

Digital Format

PDF

Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.

Collection

Loma Linda University Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Collection Website

http://scholarsrepository.llu.edu/etd/

Repository

Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives

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