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The Decline of Political Partisanship in the United States: Negativity or Neutrality?

Martin P. Wattenberg
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 75, No. 4 (Dec., 1981), pp. 941-950
DOI: 10.2307/1962294
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1962294
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Decline of Political Partisanship in the United States: Negativity or Neutrality?
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Abstract

This article examines attitudes towards the two major political parties in the United States from 1952 to 1980, using national election study data from open-ended likes/dislikes questions. The major trend which is found is a shift toward neutral evaluations of the parties. A reinterpretation of party decline in the electorate is offered, in which the much-discussed alienation from parties is largely rejected as an explanation. Rather, it is argued that the link between parties and candidates has been substantially weakened over the years and hence that political parties have become increasingly meaningless to the electorate.

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