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Agrarian Political Behavior in the United States

Michael S. Lewis-Beck
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 21, No. 3 (Aug., 1977), pp. 543-565
DOI: 10.2307/2110581
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2110581
Page Count: 23
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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.
Agrarian Political Behavior in the United States
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Abstract

Research on agrarian political behavior in the United States is scant. The comprehensive treatment that farm politics received in The American Voter has not been approached elsewhere. In that important investigation, based on an analysis of the 1952-1956 elections, farmers were portrayed as the least politically involved group in our society. When placed in the context of their more general geographic and social isolation, as Campbell and his colleagues do, this description of the politically detached farmer becomes especially convincing. However, according to the more recent data presented in this paper, farmers are no longer the extremely marginal political actors they have been traditionally. On the contrary, they emerge as one of the politically active elements of the electorate. Moreover, this attention to politics is sustained rather than sporadic, as in the past. These recent characteristics of agrarian political behavior are interesting because they represent such a turnabout from historical patterns, and because they describe the current politics of the nation's food producers, an interest group which is assuming increasing importance.

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