The power of brand: Beyond interest group influence in U.S. state abortion politics


In this article, I examine whether a constituency's political brand-defined here as the reputation that white evangelicals and Catholics have for "pro-life" abortion policy-influences the public abortion position taken by members in six U.S. state Houses of Representatives. At issue is whether constituent political brand functions as a non-interest group influence on state legislators. A fitting of the brand literature to the state politics domain suggests that the effect of political brand might be dependent on constituent presence in a state House district-be it the relative size of the constituency or its organizational (church-based) cohesion. Results confirm the influence of constituent political brand and point to white evangelicals as having an influence on a member's abortion position based on the size and homogeneity of their constituency. Catholics possess brand influence as well, but theirs is powered by the church's organizational-parish-presence and cohesion in U.S. state House districts. These findings suggest that the two major "pro-life" constituencies in American politics are able to leverage brand in the political realm in ways that the literature has not previously considered.


Political Science

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State Politics and Policy Quarterly