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Ideological Realignment in the U.S. Electorate

Alan I. Abramowitz and Kyle L. Saunders
The Journal of Politics
Vol. 60, No. 3 (Aug., 1998), pp. 634-652
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2647642
Page Count: 19
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Ideological Realignment in the U.S. Electorate
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Abstract

Using data from the 1976-1994 American National Election Studies and the 1992-94 ANES panel survey, this paper demonstrates that the outcomes of the 1994 and 1996 elections reflected a long-term shift in the bases of support and relative strength of the two major parties. This shift in the party loyalties of the electorate was based on the increased ideological polarization of the Democratic and Republican Parties during the Reagan and post-Reagan eras. Clearer differences between the parties' ideological positions made it easier for citizens to choose a party identification based on their policy preferences. The result has been a secular realignment of party loyalties along ideological lines.

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