The Moderating Impact of Social Networks on the Relationships Among Core Values, Partisanship, and Candidate Evaluations



Social networks are increasingly becoming recognized as a source of influence on political attitudes and behavior. In this study, we examine the moderating impact of social networks on the relationship among several attitudes. We argue that those who regularly interact with individuals with different views from their own will be more likely to think of themselves in nonpartisan terms. It is therefore hypothesized that an individual's discussion network influences the relationship between one's support for various core values and one's partisanship. As a corollary, we argue that disagreement in discussion networks reduces individuals' reliance on partisanship when forming subsequent attitudes. To test these propositions, we employ data asking respondents to list individuals with whom they discuss politics on a regular basis and who such individuals supported in a recent election to create a measure of network disagreement. Empirical tests provide strong support for our hypotheses.