Understanding the Party Brand: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Valence


Daniel M. Butler and Eleanor Neff Powell

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Butler, Daniel M. and Eleanor Neff Powell (2014), Understanding The Party Brand: Experimental Evidence on the Role of Valence. Journal of Politics 76(2): 492-505. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0022381613001436
The valence component of a party's reputation, or brand, has been less scrutinized than other components of party-based theories of legislatures. This lack of scrutiny results from the diffculty of isolating the valence component from policy-related components and the difficulty of studying legislators' motives. We overcome these challenges by conducting survey experiments on both voters and state legislators that show (1) that scholars have underestimated the impact of the party valence brand's potential role in elections, (2) that legislative party leaders pressure members more on votes when the outcome aff ects the party valence brand, and (3) that the value of the party brand can sometimes directly aff ect legislators' votes. Our results provide a rationale for why legislative leaders put so much eff ort into media spin battles, and suggest that parties' reputations a ffect legislative leaders' ability to pass their agenda.
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