Stephen L. Morgan, Minhyoung Kang
Sociological Science, September 16, 2015
Through an analysis of the 2004 through 2014 General Social Survey (GSS), this article demonstrates that the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) decreased support for spending on health among Democrats, Independents, and Republicans, contrary to the conjecture that a rigid partisanship equilibrium has taken hold among voters in the United States. Instead, only a partisan deflection is present, with spending preferences declining more for Republicans than for Democrats, and with Independents in between. Through supplemental analysis of the GSS panel data, as well as comparative analysis of other GSS items on national spending preferences, government responsibility, and confidence in leaders, this article also undermines support for an alternative explanation that cannot be entirely eliminated from plausibility, which is that the identified period effect that emerged in 2010 and persisted through 2014 is a response to the Great Recession and resulting deficit spending by the federal government. Implications for public opinion research are discussed, lending support to current models of thermostat effects and policy-specific political mood from the political science literature, which are informed by an older literature on weather fronts in public opinion that originated in the sociology literature.
- Citation: Morgan, Stephen L., and Minhyoung Kang. 2015. “A New Conservative Cold Front? Democrat and Republican Responsiveness to the Passage of the Affordable Care Act.” Sociological Science 2: 502-526.
- Received: June 11, 2015.
- Accepted: July 25, 2015.
- Editors: Jesper Sørensen, Delia Baldassarri
- DOI: 10.15195/v2.a24