A Caltech Library Service

The Polarization of American Politics

Poole, Keith T. and Rosenthal, Howard (1984) The Polarization of American Politics. Journal of Politics, 46 (4). pp. 1061-1079. ISSN 0022-3816. doi:10.2307/2131242.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Elected officials in the United States appear to represent relatively extreme support coalitions rather than the interests of middle-of-the-road voters. This contention is supported by analysis of variance of liberal-conservative positions in the United States Senate from 1959 to 1980. Within both the Democratic and the Republican parties, there is considerable variation in liberal-conservative positions, but two senators from the same state and party tend to be very similar. In contrast, senators from the same state but from different parties are highly dissimilar, suggesting that each party represents an extreme support coalition in the state. Moreover, the distribution of senators is now consistent with the hypothesis that, in the long run, both parties have an equal chance of winning any seat in the Senate. This result suggests that there is now competition between equally balanced but extreme support coalitions throughout most of the United States.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemWorking Paper
Additional Information:© 1984 Southern Political Science Association. The work reported here would not have been undertaken had our interest in constituency representation not been stimulated by conversations with Rod Kiewiet and Thomas Romer. We also thank Bruce Cain for comments. Errors remain our responsibility.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:Senators, Political parties, Upper houses, Constituents, Conservatism, Liberalism, Statistical variance, United States Senate, Voting
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170922-140801876
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:The Polarization of American Politics Keith T. Poole and Howard Rosenthal The Journal of Politics 1984 46:4, 1061-1079
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:81761
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:22 Sep 2017 21:36
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 19:45

Repository Staff Only: item control page