Party identification (PID) means having an attachment to a political party that speaks to one’s values. Identifying with a party comes from your social environment and can develop at an early age based on external influences (Niemi and Jennings 970). It also occurs based on continued evaluation of the economic, political, and social environment. However, party identification can change due to the nature of major national events as they occur.
Psychological attachment is based on emotion and difficult to change as it’s part of an individual’s psyche. The psychological attachment element of PID can be seen as similar to that with organizations in the sense that the initial attachment develops from internalized values. However, PID tends to be based on continued performance over time instead of an inherent loyalty to organizations like, for example, PETA if you are an animal activist.
Sometimes, voters who register and vote for a political party for the first time, still vote for the same party many years later. There exists a great social need to fit into one political organization because social identity requires people to have a point of reference from which to understand opposing views undertaken by other groups of people. People choose certain parties because they have inherent values that feed their political views but if said party betrays their values by not continuing to uphold their promises, this could change. These factors may either influence one to identify with a particular party for a lifetime or put pressure on the voter to change their loyalty (if a conflict in values arises) due to this social need to identify with a specific inherent set of values.
Niemi, Richard G., and M. Kent Jennings. “of Party Identiﬁcation.” American Journal of
Political Science 35.4 (1991): 970-988.
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