The Apartisan American

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-02-15
  • Publisher: Cq Pr

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Party identification is often considered the most important concept in modern electoral research-yet Americans' party ties have eroded. Today, independents comprise the largest portion of voters, outnumbering either Democrats or Republicans. This provocative book sheds new light on the dealignment trend with the emergence of an independent voter Dalton is calling the Apartisan American. Utilizing 60 years of electoral surveys, Dalton's friendly and concise narrative shows students just who these apartisans are and how they're introducing new volatility into electoral politics, changing the calculus of electoral decision making, and altering the behavior of political parties. Dalton also shows the same dealignment trend happening in other established democracies. Understanding these apartisans is key to understanding the 2012 election as well as party and electoral politics into the future.

Author Biography

Russell J. Dalton is professor of political science at the University of California. Irvine and former director of the Center for the Study of Democracy. His research and teaching focuses on the changing nature of citizen polities in contemporary democracies. He has received a Fulbright Research Fellowship, a German Marshall Fund Fellowship. Barbra Streisand Center Fellowship, and POSCO Research Fellowship. He has recently served on the boards of the American National Election Study, the British Election Study, and the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems. Among his recent authored or edited books are Oxford Handbook of Political Behavior (2007). Citizens, Democracy and Markets around the Pacific Rim (2006), Citizen Politics, 4th edition (2006). Democratic Challenges. Democratic Choice: The Erosion of Political Support in Advanced Industrial Democracies (2004), Democracy Transformed. The Expansion of Citizen Access in Advanced Industrial Democracies (2003), and Parties without Partisons Political Change in Advanced Industrial Democracies (co-editor, 2001).

Table of Contents

Tables and Figuresp. xi
Prefacep. xiv
Author Biographyp. xvii
The Apartisan Americanp. 1
The Concept of Party Identificationp. 3
The Implications of Partisan Dealignmentp. 6
Plus ša Change, or Real Change?p. 9
Partisan Dealignment
The Two Sides of the Dealignment Debatep. 11
Two Views of Partisan Changep. 12
How to Measure Partisanshipp. 14
The Growth of Independentsp. 17
A Closer Look at Independentsp. 21
Registering Their Independencep. 24
We Are Not Alonep. 27
A Changing Publicp. 29
Can Partisans Go to Heaven?p. 31
Who Are the Independents?p. 32
Growing Up Independentp. 33
Cognitive Mobilization and Independentsp. 38
Attitudes and Nonpartisanshipp. 45
Conclusionp. 48
Appendix: Multivariate Analysisp. 50
COG-Partisans and Democratic Citizenshipp. 53
Encouraging Democratic Citizenshipp. 54
The Effects of Mobilization Patternsp. 56
Political Information Seekingp. 57
Political Knowledgep. 58
Enlightened Citizenshipp. 59
Is It Just Politics?p. 61
Conclusionp. 63
Political Participation
Becoming Active in Politicsp. 65
Mobilization in Electionsp. 66
Votingp. 69
Campaign Activityp. 71
Participation beyond Electionsp. 73
Direct Actionp. 73
Protest Activityp. 74
Internet Activismp. 77
The Paths to Political Participationp. 78
Electoral Politics
Images of Parties and the Party Systemp. 83
The Salience of Political Partiesp. 84
Cognitive-Partisan Groups and Party Saliencep. 87
Party Likes and Dislikesp. 89
A Closer Look at Party Polarizationp. 94
A Second Look at Polarizationp. 96
Variations in Party Affectp. 98
Images of the Party Systemp. 102
Making Candidate Choicesp. 105
Partisanship: The Baselinep. 106
Candidate Awarenessp. 109
The Contents of Candidate Imagesp. 112
From Candidate Images to Preferencesp. 117
Mobilization Patterns and Candidate Choicep. 120
Conclusionp. 122
Appendix: Predicting Candidate Preferencesp. 125
Switchers, Splitters, and Late Decidersp. 129
Do Campaigns Matter?p. 131
Swing Votersp. 133
Another Close Look at Independentsp. 137
Third-Party Votingp. 141
Split-Ticket Votingp. 144
A Changeable Electoratep. 149
The Comparative Perspective
Dealignment in Comparative Perspectivep. 151
The Strength of Party Tiesp. 153
Cognitive and Partisan Mobilizationp. 156
Describing Cog-Partisansp. 158
Patterns of Political Actionp. 162
Electoral Behaviorp. 166
Cross-National Evidence of Dealignmentp. 172
Conclusionp. 176
Appendix: National Trends in Party Identificationp. 177
Electoral Politics Past and Futurep. 180
The Evidence of Dealignmentp. 181
The Implications of Dealignmentp. 183
Electoral Politicsp. 184
Political Engagementp. 186
Lessons for the Political Partiesp. 187
Dealignment and Democracyp. 189
Endnotesp. 192
Indexp. 211
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