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The Polarization of American Politics

Poole, Keith T. and Rosenthal, Howard (1983) The Polarization of American Politics. Social Science Working Paper, 476. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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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, two 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 are equally likely to win 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:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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Additional Information: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. Published as Poole, Keith T. and Rosenthal, Howard (1984) The Polarization of American Politics. Journal of Politics, 46 (4). pp. 1061-1079.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Subject Keywords:Senators, Political parties, Upper houses, Constituents, Conservatism, Liberalism, Statistical variance, United States Senate, Voting
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:476
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20171115-154009616
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:83240
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:15 Nov 2017 23:50
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 19:04

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