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  • 1. 7 Things Ive Learned About Political Polarization Morris P. Fiorina Pearson Politics Now Conference April 16, 2010
  • 2. 1a. Elites have polarized (and sorted), but Depends on Baseline
  • 3. Why has Congress Polarized since the 1960s? Source: Data provided by Keith Poole.
  • 4. Why has Congress Depolarized since 1900? 56 th House of Representatives (1899-1901) 87 th House of Representatives (1961-1962)
  • 5. Congressional Polarization A Century Apart 56 th House of Representatives (1899-1901) 106 th House of Representatives (1999-2001)
  • 6. 1b. Elites have polarized (and sorted), but Agenda Dependency Snyder (LSQ 1992) Roberts and Smith (AJPS 2006) Lee (2010)
  • 7. Agenda Dependence
  • 8. 1c. Elites have polarized (and sorted), but Agenda Dependency Behavioral Polarization Preference Polarization?
  • 9. Ideology Thermometer Scores of Party Identifiers and Activists Source: ANES Notes: Activists are defined as respondents who engaged in 3 or more campaign activities as coded in vcf0723. Leaners are coded as partisans. The Liberal/Conservative Index (vcf0801) measures a respondent's relative thermometer ratings of "Liberals" and "Conservatives." It is calculated by subtracting the Liberal Thermometer score from 97 and averaging the result with the Conservative Thermometer score. Cases are weighted by vcf0009.
  • 10. Party Elites Have Become More Extreme (From Self-Placement of National Convention Delegates on 5-Point Liberal-Conservative Scale through 2008)
  • 11.
    • 2. Respondents believe that elites
    • have polarized
  • 12. Respondent Perceptions Source: ANES
  • 13. Average Placement of Party Positions Source: ANES
  • 14. 3. Respondent positions have not polarized
  • 15. No Ideological Polarization in 2008
  • 16. No Increasing Ideological Polarization Percentage of Americans who classify themselves as moderates or DK)
  • 17. No Polarization on Policy Issues in 2008* Source: 2008 ANES * Havent thought much about it responses recoded as moderates
  • 18. Minimal Changes in Policy Views: 1984-2008 (Percentage Point Changes in Scale Position between 1984 and 2008) Extremely Liberal-----------------------------------Extremely Conservative
    • Left Shift
    • Health Insurance 5 4 3 0 -1 -3 0
    • Spending/Services 4 3 5 -6 -3 -1 0
    • Right Shift
    • Aid to Minorities -2 -2 -6 -8 -4 5 14
    • Defense Spending -1 -2 0 -4 2 2 1
    • Jobs/SoL -1 1 -1 -2 1 1 3
  • 19.
    • 4 . Voter c hoices and evaluations
    • have become more polarized
  • 20. Republican Percent of Two-Party Presidential Vote Source: American National Election Studies. Note: Party identification includes strong and weak partisans.
  • 21. Polarization of Choices Centrist Strategy Base Strategy Gore Bush D R D JFK Nixon R
  • 22. Distribution of State Presidential Approval
  • 23. Distribution of State Senatorial Approval
  • 24. Distribution of State Gubernatorial Approval
  • 25. The 2004 Presidential Election
  • 26. Party Control: Post-2004 Elections
  • 27.
    • 5. Partisans have become better
    • sorted, but imperfect and lots of
    • issue variation (Levendusky),
    • and far less than elites
  • 28. When Should Abortion Be Legal? (2008 NES) Source: ANES, 2008 22 50 Always as a personal choice 16 13 For a clear need 35 26 Only in case of rape, incest, or when the woman's life is in danger 28 11% Never Strong Republicans Strong Democrats
  • 29. 2008 NYT Delegate Survey Source: NYTimes/CBS Poll. September 1, 2008. 38 54 More Strict Gun Control 17 24 Personal Religious Beliefs Should Be Discussed in Presidential Campaigns 13 84 2001 Tax Cuts Should be Made Permanent 28 41 No Legal Recognition of Gay Relationships 21 27 More Important to protect Environment than to Meet Energy Needs 56 78 Right Thing for the US to Have Taken Military Action Against Iraq 23 61 Abortion Should Be Generally Available 50 87 More important to Provide Health Care than to Hold Down Taxes 33 55 Very/Fairly Good National Economy 28 43 Illegal Immigration is a Very Important Problem Identifier Difference Delegate Difference
  • 30.
    • 6 . Many (most) statistical analyses of
    • electoral behavior over time are
    • under-identified
  • 31. Candidate Competition in Two Dimensions: Arial View
  • 32. Democrats and Republicans Separate on the Moral Dimension Economic Moral Clinton LBJ Bush Gore Goldwater
  • 33. Simulation: Unchanging Voters, Moving Candidates Economic Moral Clinton LBJ Bush Gore Goldwater
  • 34. Unchanging Voters Appear to Change As Candidates Move
  • 35. BISHOP: THE BIG SORT
    • County Vote Change 1976-2004:
    • More competitive: 33 %
    • Less competitive: 67
    • Landslide counties: + 22%
  • 36.

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