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Red vs. Blue Is partisanship tearing us apart?. The map that started it all, 2000 

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Presentation on theme: "Red vs. Blue Is partisanship tearing us apart?. The map that started it all, 2000 "— Presentation transcript:

1 Red vs. Blue Is partisanship tearing us apart?

2 The map that started it all, 2000 

3 I. The “Red vs. Blue” Narrative: Some Propositions A. The Pundits’ Story (clarified): 1. Identity: Party identity has become an important part of self-identity, so that Red (pro- Republican) and Blue (pro-Democrat) are as salient as religion, race, place, etc. 2. 50/50 Nation: The Red/Blue divide splits America down the middle 3. Polarization: The Red/Blue divide has been growing over time 4. Geographic Divide: Red America is a very different place than Blue America

4 B. The Polarized Public? Abramowitz’s Argument 5. [Polarization is increasing among ordinary people] (included in # 3) 6. Race, class, ideology, cultural views, and geography are reinforcing rather than cross-cutting cleavages 7. The Tea Party movement is an example of a radicalized mass movement

5 II. The identity thesis Have Americans become more attached to their parties?

6 A. Party Images From Mark Brewer, Party Images in the American Electorate, 2009. 1. Party image = “Mental picture” that individuals have about a party 2. Can be treated as “likes” and “dislikes”

7 a. Party images getting stronger – barely…

8 b. What do Americans see in their major parties? See Handout

9 c. Party images are more distinct, more salient

10 B. Partisan Loyalty: Increasing or Decreasing? Increasing references in media But is it real or a myth? 

11 1. Party Identification – Long-Term Increase in Independents 2000 2004 2008 2012

12 2. Party Leaners – Few “Pure” Independents but many “Independent” leaners

13 3. Leaners look like “closet partisans” (80% vs. 90% loyal)

14 C. Party Salience – How important are partisan ties? 1. Civic engagement – how important is politics? a. Attention to political news:

15 Historical Perspective

16

17 b. Volunteerism: high…

18 …but not usually political

19 c. Salience of politics Question: “Suppose that you alone could determine whether a Democrat or a Republican represents your Congressional district by paying a specific dollar amount? How much would you be willing to pay to ensure that a Congressman from your preferred party will win the office?” Answer (yougov.com): 55% of respondents said “ZERO”

20 d. Political Activity (2008)

21 Turnout

22 III. 50/50 Nation? Closeness and Depth A. Is the Country Closely Divided? 1. Multiple Scholars: Yes. Elections 2000 and 2004 were close, and…

23 2. House Vote: Much closer than most of 1950-19902010 2006 2010

24 3. Partisan Leanings (not ID) – Nearly Even

25 B. Polarization: Are Americans Deeply Divided? 1. Issues (Fiorina): No. See Figures 3.2 and 3.4. Centrism on ideology and major issues. But see also Abramowitz. Further examples…

26 Abortion: Most in the middle

27

28 Gay Marriage: Substantial Center Exists

29 Afghanistan (2009): Substantial Middle Ground

30 Health Care: Evidence of Polarization

31 2. Changes in Party Identification Show Moderation Not Polarization 2000 2004 2008 2012

32 3. Ideology: a. Public much less divided than politicians (2006)

33 b. State-level Ideology: no evidence of sharp divide. Centrists dominate most states Fiorina: Gap is an artifact of “winner takes all” – voters similar in both kinds of states

34 c. Even partisans are cross- pressured Most partisans disagree with own party on at least one salient issue (common in 2000- 2004: abortion, gay marriage) Creates opportunities for persuasion during campaigns Many apparently divisive issues are really “wedge” issues meant to peel off cross- pressured partisans, not (just) to excite the base

35 4. Comparative Evidence (2008): Larger gaps between partisans than other countries

36 C. Conclusions Americans are closely divided  competitive elections at national level Americans are centrists on many “wedge” issues  creates cross-pressured voters Evidence on public polarization is mixed, depending on issue and measure of opinion Need more precise measures of polarization – would allow comparison over time

37 IV. Is Partisan Polarization Increasing?

38 A. Is Elite Partisanship Increasing? 1.Introducing NOMINATE scores: An unbiased method for measuring political differences a.Assumption 1: Political decisions are connected – position on one issue helps to predict position on other issues b.Assumption 2: Whatever connects issue positions is a continuum, so we can rank people on this underlying dimension

39 2. Finding the underlying dimension: An example ABCD JoseYYNY KeishaYNNN PatNYYY Three legislators, four bills (A through D). What rank- ordering best explains these voting patterns?

40 a. Rank-Order the legislators ABCD JoseYYNY KeishaYNNN PatNYYY Options: JKP JPK KJP KPJ PJK PKJ

41 a. Rank-Order the legislators ABCD JoseYYNY KeishaYNNN PatNYYY Options: JKP JPK KJP KPJ PJK PKJ

42 a. Rank-Order the legislators ABCD JoseYYNY KeishaYNNN PatNYYY Options: JKP JPK KJP

43 b. Rank-Order the Bills ABCD JoseYYNY KeishaYNNN PatNYYY Options: ABCD ABDC ACBD ACDB ADBC ADCB BACD BADC BCAD BDAC CABD CBAD

44 c. Evaluate the Rank- Orderings to Predict Votes Iss. RankJKPJPKKJP ABCD ABDC ACBD ACDB ADBC ADCB BACD BADC BCAD BDAC CABD CBAD ABCD JYYNY KYNNN PNYYY

45 i. Check each combination ABCD JYYNY KYNNN PNYYY First combination to check: JKP and ABCD JKP A B C D Implications: J more likely to vote for A than K  0 J more likely to vote for A than P  1 K more likely to vote for C than J  0 K more likely to vote for D than J  -1 K more likely to vote for A than P  1 K more likely to vote for B than P  -1 P more likely to vote for D than K  1 P more likely to vote for D than J  0

46 ii. Now re-check with different policy positions ABCD JYYNY KYNNN PNYYY First combination to check: JKP and ABCD JKP ABC D Etc…

47 iii. Repeat for every possible combination NOMINATE scores generated using a supercomputer Note that none of the possible orderings is likely to be correct all of the time, given dozens or hundreds of legislators and bills (all roll-call votes in which 2.5% or more disagree)

48 d. Which combination performs best? Iss. RankJKPJPKKJP ABCD1774 ABDC2311-2 ACBD11-212 ACDB-5017 ADBC14913 ADCB9129 BACD41722 BADC2626 BCAD13112 BDAC19-221 CABD21 -4 CBAD2413 Possible Implication: K loves B and hates C, while P loves C and hates B. Everyone and everything else is moderate.

49 Example: 110 th Congress by D-NOMINATE Scores

50 e. Now suppose there are multiple dimensions…. Examples: Social freedom vs Economic freedom International cooperation and international militancy All of the above (4 dimensions!) Authors find one or two dimensions are all that is needed: Currently just one (liberal vs. conservative). Very high (.81) correlation with hand-coded scores of liberalism vs. conservatism – the computer found something that matches our understanding!

51

52 e. Now suppose there are multiple dimensions…. Examples: Social freedom vs Economic freedom International cooperation and international militancy All of the above (4 dimensions!) Authors find one or two dimensions are all that is needed: Currently just one (liberal vs. conservative). Very high (.81) correlation with hand-coded scores of liberalism vs. conservatism – the computer found something that matches our understanding! Sometimes a second dimension (Regionalism: North-South power balance, bimetalism/free silver, civil rights)

53 Example: 91 st House (1969-70) Opposition to Civil Rights Conservatism

54 3. What can NOMINATE tell us about polarization? 1. Whether there are two dimensions or one: Is the liberal-conservative continuum a good way to categorize politicians? 2. How far apart each party’s legislators are from each other (party unity) 3. How far apart one party’s legislators are from the other party’s legislators (polarization) 4. Whether the parties have dramatically changed (realignment)

55

56

57

58 3. What can NOMINATE tell us about polarization? 1. Whether there are two dimensions or one: Is the liberal-conservative continuum a good way to categorize politicians? 2. How far apart each party’s legislators are from others in the same party (party unity) 3. How far apart one party’s legislators are from the other party’s legislators (polarization) 4. Whether the parties have dramatically changed (realignment)

59 Video: Plotting scores over time by PartyPlotting scores over time by Party

60 4. Further Evidence of Party Polarization a. Party-line votes (previous lecture)

61 b. Filibusters and Cloture

62 c. Issue Positions

63 5. Explaining party polarization a. Politicians becoming more extreme? But why? Self-defeating to move away from median voter. b. Hypothesis: Party activists have become more extreme i. Explains uncertainty about mass shift (would be delayed relative to elite shift) ii. Also explains elite shift – activists are key to candidate success and are known to be more extreme than either the public or candidates themselves!

64 Median Voter (M) Beats All other positions!

65 5. Explaining party polarization a. Politicians becoming more extreme? But why? Self-defeating to move away from median voter. b. Hypothesis: Party activists have become more extreme i. Explains uncertainty about mass shift (would be delayed relative to elite shift) ii. Also explains elite shift – activists are key to candidate success and are known to be more extreme than either the public or candidates themselves!

66 c. Evidence: Activist polarization

67 d. What polarized activists? Competing explanations: Realignment of the South in 1960s/1970s  fails to explain continued polarization in 1990s Primaries: Internal democracy allowed party “capture” by activists using primaries (especially Congressional ones) Media change: End of “fairness doctrine” and rise of new media (from talk-radio to the Internet) allow politically-aware to hear only fellow ideologues

68 Political blog polarization (2010)

69 Ideologies of website readers

70 e. Is mass polarization increasing? Probably. Abramowitz: More political engagement  more polarization Consistent with a “trickle out” effect from party activists to informed voters But what factors cause increased polarization? (Abramowitz) Education will not eliminate polarization!

71 Abortion (% Pro-Life)

72 Evolution

73 Climate Change (Existence)

74 Climate Change (Would Be Bothered)

75 Facts About Iraq (WMD)

76 Economic Inequality (Has it Increased?)

77

78 V. A Geographic Divide? The 2004 “Jesusland” Map: Red vs. Blue as a fundamental religious divide – or “closely but not deeply divided?”

79 A. Voting History

80 B. General Political Regions

81 1. West Coast Stereotype: Wealthy, elite liberalism. Reality: Elite liberal coalition with Latinos

82 State-Funded Abortion

83 2. Rocky Mountains Libertarian Conservatives: No Taxes, No Government Regulation

84 Seat Belt Laws

85 3. Great Plains Religious Conservatism But Economic Populism

86

87 4. Great Lakes In transition from Blue-Collar (Economically Liberal, Socially Conservative) to Suburban (Economically Conservative, Socially Moderate)

88 Map of Industrialization – Great Lakes = Old Industry

89 5. Northeast Big-Government Liberalism: Both Social and Economic

90 c. State Taxes

91 a. Sex Ed: Cultural Liberalism in the Northeast

92 b. Liberal Crime Policy: Northeast and Victims’ Rights

93 c. Values: Women’s Age at First Marriage (Darkest = 27+)

94 6. The South States Rights and Limited Welfare but Big-Government Conservatism (Pro-Business)

95

96 a. North-South Divide: Origins

97

98

99 b. The “Southern Strategy” Note difference between Nixon’s 1960 and 1968/1972 positionsNixon’s 1960 19681972 Democrats able to attack Nixon on NAACP membership in South during 1960 campaign

100 c. The Southern Shift: 1950-1980

101 Wallace for President 1968

102 b. The “Southern Strategy” Note difference between Nixon’s 1960 and 1968/1972 positionsNixon’s 1960 19681972 Democrats able to attack Nixon on NAACP membership in South during 1960 campaign Note the stop-start nature of the transition: Ford still writes off the South in 1976… Moral issues slowly replaced racial issues in Republicans’ strategy

103 d. Southern uniqueness today i. The “Bible Belt” – Moral issues coincide with racial issues of 1970s

104

105 Southern Religious Homogeneity

106 ii. High poverty, Low welfare Poverty Rates 2004: Darker = Higher Rate

107 % Households Receiving Cash Welfare

108

109 Medicaid Eligibility by State (2008)

110

111 iii. Still lower education Percent Completed High School or GED By Age 25

112

113 iv. Hard-line anti-crime policy (2009)

114 Example of Southern Uniqueness: Execution of Juveniles (2004)

115 7. Summary: Alignments Exception to Region

116 C. How stable and homogenous are these regions?

117 1.Economic Issues a. Anti-Union: “Right to Work”

118 Union Membership

119 b. Economic Protection State Minimum Wage Laws

120 Parental Leave Policies (A = Most / F = Least)

121

122 State EITC (2008)

123 c. State Balanced Budget Laws

124 2. Energy Policy a. Renewable Energy (RPS)

125 b. Gasoline tax rates

126 3. “Moral Issues” a. Abortion: Legal everywhere but laws differ…

127 “Partial Birth” Abortion Bans (2007)

128 Pro-life State Governments (2011)

129 Abortion Rates (2010-2011)

130

131 Stem Cell Research Support

132 b. Religion in Schools: Moment of Silence Laws

133 State Treatment of Evolution

134 c. Family Structures Gay Adoption Banned (Blue) or OK (Orange)

135 Gay/Lesbian Rights Scale includes: same-sex marriage 2nd parent adoption for same-sex couples civil unions health benefits for same-sex partners job antidiscrimination hate crimes protection housing antidiscrimination.

136 Gay/Lesbian Rights (2009) SUPPORTPOLICY

137 Gay Marriage (2012)

138 1 st Cousin Marriage

139 Divorce Rates – indicator of attitudes toward marriage?

140 4. Liberty vs. Safety a. Motorcycle Helmet Laws

141 b. Crime Policy Imprisonment Rates

142 Marijuana Laws

143 Laws Against Racial Profiling

144 Gun Tracking

145 3. Multiculturalism. “Official English” Laws

146

147 D. What underlies the regional divides? 1. Smaller cultural regions?

148 2. Patterns of Issue Salience? Many regions have multiple loyalties (opportunities for change or new regional divides). Possible examples: Rockies values low taxes over less social regulation Great Lakes values economic performance/policy over social issues Great Plains values religiosity over economic populism

149 VI. Case Study: The Tea Party Movement If statistical evidence is inconclusive, perhaps process-tracing a single case will provide more insight

150 A. Is the Tea Party a Mass Movement? 1. Note: Most mass movements are small, compared to the general public 2. Tea Party supporters = about one-fourth of Americans (opinion surveys)  mass support 1 in 5 of these (2.5%) has donated money or protested  mass participation Donors generally vastly outnumber protesters  unclear if mass activism 650 national organizations, fewer than half “active.” Most of these = 500 members or less

151 B. How Does the Tea Party Get Anything Done? Fragmentation usually reduces influence of mass movements Two main groups set the agenda using media and money: FreedomWorks (Tea Party Patriots) “Our Country Deserves Better” PAC (Tea Party Express) Other GOP groups often support Tea Party activities / candidates

152 C. What Mobilized the Tea Party? See exercise (and Abramowitz)

153 VII. Assessing the Propositions 1. Identity: Political identification may be increasing, but its salience is still low. BUT: Other issues increasingly correlate with political views. 2. 50/50 Nation: Americans are closely divided, but disagreement over depth BUT: Tea Party suggests elite polarization can produce mass polarization

154 VII. Assessing the Propositions 3. Polarization: Appears to be increasing, but could be “sorting” (next lecture on individual political attitudes) 4. Geographic Divide: Political regions can be drawn which match partisan divides BUT: More regions than red/blue, regions are not homogenous and seeds of change exist

155 Assessing the Propositions 5. Geography seems to be a reinforcing cleavage, but we need additional evidence on the political significance of race and class 6. Tea Party movement is a mass movement with aspects of a top-down movement and other aspects of a decentralized movement, which has evolved closer alignment with its sponsors’ priorities


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