Does Partisanship Stop at Scandal’s Edge? Partisan Resiliency and the Survival of Political Scandal


  • Jeronimo Cortina
  • Brandon Rottinghaus



The outbreak of political scandal depresses the approval ratings of the individuals involved, especially the president.  Yet, less is known about the partisan effects of approval ratings during scandal, especially the “stickiness” of partisan ties to leaders involved in scandal.  Using a survey experiment, we expose respondents to manufactured news coverage of both illegal and not illegal (mismanaged policy) activities involving President Obama.  The results demonstrate that the President’s co-partisans are more likely to approve of the President and less likely to desire to impeach the president, even after being informed about illegal activity.  In contrast, out partisans are more likely to demand the President’s impeachment for both illegal and not illegal activity.  This article provides evidence of how partisanship persists (and even expands) during presidential scandals and how partisan linkages are important to surviving scandal.


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