Party affiliation has long been the driving force behind electoral politics in the United States. Despite this fact, scant attention has been devoted to the American electorate’s party images—the "mental pictures" that individuals have about the parties which enable citizens to translate events in the larger political environment into terms meaningful to them as individuals. Party images are central to understanding individuals’ political perceptions and, ultimately, voting behavior.
Party Images in the American Electorate systematically examines the substance, evolution, and manipulation of party images within the American public over the last half century, both within the public as a whole and within important subgroups based on class, race and ethnicity, sex, and religiosity. Ultimately, this important book investigates how these party images are tied into the story of party polarization and how they affect electoral outcomes in the United States.