Prior research shows that partisan bias affects evaluations of people in nonpolitical settings, but it is unclear to what extent this bias informs evaluations of objects other than people in similar contexts. This is an important limitation given the frequency with which brands, locations, and products are associated with parties and political figures. We examine whether partisan bias influences evaluations of inanimate objects in the same way that it does evaluations of people. The results of four survey experiments show that partisans evaluate objects linked to the opposing party less favorably than otherwise identical nonpartisan objects. Moreover, the influence of partisan bias on evaluations of people is comparable in magnitude to the influence of bias on evaluations of various inanimate objects. We interpret these findings through the lens of conflict extension theory by suggesting that conflict between partisans has extended from policy-based to social identity-based conflict even in nonpolitical settings.
- conflict extension