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Partisan Representation and the Failure of Realignment in the 1980s

Patricia A. Hurley
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 33, No. 1 (Feb., 1989), pp. 240-261
DOI: 10.2307/2111261
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111261
Page Count: 22
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Partisan Representation and the Failure of Realignment in the 1980s
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Abstract

This paper advances the concept of partisan representation and suggests that such representation plays a role in the process of realignment. Partisan representation focuses attention on how well the parties in Congress, as groups, represent their rank-and-file identifiers, as groups. Improved partisan representation within the advantaged party, as well as increased congruence between independents and the advantaged party should be important factors in transforming short-term electoral change into durable new patterns of partisan preference and voting behavior. Failure to represent well both existing identifiers and independents should inhibit the process of realignment. Since the public opinion data necessary to test this hypothesis are unavailable for any period of realignment, the hypothesis is tested by examining the failed realignment of the 1980s with the expectation that the relationship of Republican House voting patterns to the issue preferences of Republicans and independents in the mass public should not improve between 1980 and 1984. A comparison of public opinion with House roll call voting in the 97th and 98th Congresses supports the null hypothesis, as expected.

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