Who should be chef? The dynamics of valence evaluations across income groups during economic crises
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In this paper, we investigate partisan rationalization in valence politics by trying to better specify the direct and indirect effects of the economy on government support. To do so, we examine how income levels moderate the influence of objective economic conditions on perceptions of which party is the best manager of the economy during a period of economic crisis, 2004-2010, in the United Kingdom. We find that low-income voters are more responsive in their assessments of the incumbent Labour government based on unemployment, as are high-income voters in terms of inflation. In addition, high-income voters tend to behave in a manner consistent with partisan rationalization, while low-income voters do not. These conclusions offer important implications for the effectiveness of electoral control of government policy, as well as the quality of representation. 2013 Elsevier Ltd.