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Trading Places: American Political Parties in the Electorate from 1970-2000

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Abstract:

In this paper I analyze the current conventional wisdom about American national politics: that is, value-laden issues, (i.e., gun control, abortion, school prayer, gay rights), predominate in the minds of today?s voters. According to adherents of this view, as these issues have risen in prominence, the Democratic Party?s cultural liberalism has transformed the party from a heartland-based, New Deal-era alliance based on remedying economic inequality into a bicoastal coalition centered around social libertarianism; conversely, the Republicans have morphed from an internationalist, fiscally cautious party based in the Northeast into a Sun Belt-oriented party increasingly focused on hot-button social issues. In an attempt to verify that notion, I inspect a variety of data bearing upon it. I employ National Election Survey results to identify the salient dimensions in people's vote choice, and I examine how voting behavior varies by demographics, geographical area, and other factors. I note that the demographic makeup of formerly Democratic areas closely resembles that of areas which today are trending Republican, while former Republican bailiwicks?most notably the suburban rings around Northern and Midwestern cities?are trending Democratic. In many areas, the two parties have essentially traded places, which I attribute primarily to the rise of cultural issues.

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vote (185), variabl (149), democrat (144), voter (135), parti (124), issu (103), 2000 (92), incom (89), 1 (89), signific (81), year (74), model (66), republican (64), choic (57), elect (52), chang (52), educ (50), polit (48), cultur (47), tabl (46), 1980 (43),

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Keywords: parties, realignment, social issues, economic issues, voting behavior, congressional elections
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Name: American Political Science Association
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MLA Citation:

Smith, Jeff. "Trading Places: American Political Parties in the Electorate from 1970-2000" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, Aug 28, 2002 <Not Available>. 2009-05-26 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p66150_index.html>

APA Citation:

Smith, J. , 2002-08-28 "Trading Places: American Political Parties in the Electorate from 1970-2000" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston Marriott Copley Place, Sheraton Boston & Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts Online <.PDF>. 2009-05-26 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p66150_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In this paper I analyze the current conventional wisdom about American national politics: that is, value-laden issues, (i.e., gun control, abortion, school prayer, gay rights), predominate in the minds of today?s voters. According to adherents of this view, as these issues have risen in prominence, the Democratic Party?s cultural liberalism has transformed the party from a heartland-based, New Deal-era alliance based on remedying economic inequality into a bicoastal coalition centered around social libertarianism; conversely, the Republicans have morphed from an internationalist, fiscally cautious party based in the Northeast into a Sun Belt-oriented party increasingly focused on hot-button social issues. In an attempt to verify that notion, I inspect a variety of data bearing upon it. I employ National Election Survey results to identify the salient dimensions in people's vote choice, and I examine how voting behavior varies by demographics, geographical area, and other factors. I note that the demographic makeup of formerly Democratic areas closely resembles that of areas which today are trending Republican, while former Republican bailiwicks?most notably the suburban rings around Northern and Midwestern cities?are trending Democratic. In many areas, the two parties have essentially traded places, which I attribute primarily to the rise of cultural issues.

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Document Type: .pdf
Page count: 48
Word count: 15810
Text sample:
1 Trading Places? The Two Parties in the Electorate from 1970­2000 Jeff Smith Ph.D. Candidate 110 Eliot Hall Department of Political Science Washington University in Saint Louis St. Louis MO 63130 jrsmith@artsci.wustl.edu Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association Boston MA August 29­September 1 2002. Thanks to Jeff Staton Brady Baybeck George Rabinowitz John Carey Hahrie Han Bill Lowry and Steve Smith for their thoughtful comments and criticisms. Thanks to my interview respondents who provided
of Democratic Vote: Residence in South Independent Variable Year Change In Independent Variable Simulated Change Std. Error I South 1980 .0675762^ 0­1 .0508748 South 1990 ­.0764504^ 0­1 .0653730 South 2000 ­.1549801* 0­1 .0630892 Note: This table explains the impact of altering the value of the variable from 0 (non­South) to 1 (South) on the probability of voting Democratic. Table 21: Summary of Variable Impact on Likelihood of Democratic Vote: Race Independent Variable Year Change In Independent Variable Simulated Change


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