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The Polarized Public



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Debuting in its first edition, The Polarized Publictakes an in-depth look at the seemingly irreconcilable divide between Republicans and Democrats and argues that bi-partisanship remains elusive, not because of politicians in the capitol, but because of the American public and their fixation on party membership and loyalty. How did this intense polarization develop? How has it influenced the current political climate? How will it evolve and affect the upcoming presidential and congressional elections? Alan Abramowitz addresses all of these questions among others in this new, eye-opening addition to The Great Questions in Politics series.

Author Biography

Alan I. Abramowitz is the Alben W. Barkley Professor of Political Science at * Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the author of five books, dozens of book chapters and articles in scholarly journals dealing with American political parties, elections, and voting behavior as well as numerous essays for newspapers, magazines and blogs on contemporary American politics.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xxi
The Polarized Publicp. 1
The Debate: Elite versus Mass Polarizationp. 5
Evidence for Mass Polarization: The Case of Health Care Reformp. 9
Constraint and Polarizationp. 12
Explaining the Rise of Mass Polarizationp. 13
The Racial Dividep. 18
The Racial Divide in 2008p. 21
The Racial Transformation of the American Party Systemp. 24
The Rise of the Nonwhite Electoratep. 26
Race and the Rise of Polarizationp. 29
The Racial Divide and Ideological Polarizationp. 33
Chapter Summaryp. 35
The Ideological Dividep. 36
Ideological Realignment and the Demise of the New Deal Party Systemp. 37
The Rise of Ideological Polarizationp. 42
Sorting versus Polarizationp. 45
Issue Constraint and Polarizationp. 50
Political Engagement, Constraint, and Polarization: Evidence from 2010p. 54
Polarized Positions or Polarized Choices?p. 56
Chapter Summaryp. 60
The Cultural Dividep. 62
Explaining the Religious Divide: The Rise of Abortion as a Political Issuep. 68
Cultural Issues in 2008: Abortion and Gay Rightsp. 74
Growing Consistency between Cultural and Economic Issuesp. 77
Cultural Issues, Economic Issues, and Party Identificationp. 80
Chapter Summaryp. 82
The Geographic Dividep. 83
Explaining the Red-Blue Dividep. 87
The Red-Blue Divide and Presidential Electionsp. 90
The Growing Red-Blue Divide in the Senatep. 92
The Growing Red-Blue Divide in the House of Representativesp. 95
Chapter Summaryp. 100
The Polarized Public and the Rise of the Tea Party Movementp. 101
Brewing the Tea: The Growth of the Conservative Republican Base, 1972-2008p. 104
Drinking the Tea: Analyzing Public Support for the Tea Party Movement in 2010p. 110
Explaining Tea Party Support: A Multivariate Analysisp. 116
Tea Party Support and Political Activismp. 118
Chapter Summaryp. 119
Polarization Continues: The 2012 Elections and Beyondp. 122
The Outlook for 2012: The Republican Presidential Nominationp. 125
The Outlook for 2012: The Presidential Electionp. 129
The Outlook for 2012: The House of Representativesp. 135
The Outlook for 2012: The Senatep. 138
Beyond 2012: Governing in an Age of Polarizationp. 141
Indexp. 145
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