Partisan Priorities: How issue ownership drives and distorts American politics

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Americans consistently name Republicans as the party better at handling issues like national security and crime, while they trust Democrats on issues like education and the environment – a phenomenon called “issue ownership.” Partisan Priorities investigates the origins of issue ownership, showing that in fact the parties deliver neither superior performance nor popular policies on the issues they “own.” Rather, Patrick J. Egan finds that Republicans and Democrats simply prioritize their owned issues with lawmaking and government spending when they are in power. Since the parties tend to be particularly ideologically rigid on the issues they own, politicians actually tend to ignore citizens' preferences when crafting policy on these issues. Thus, issue ownership distorts the relationship between citizens' preferences and public policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages263
ISBN (Electronic)9781107337138
ISBN (Print)9781107042582
StatePublished - Jul 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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