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Partisanship and Voting Behavior, 1952-1996

Larry M. Bartels
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 44, No. 1 (Jan., 2000), pp. 35-50
DOI: 10.2307/2669291
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2669291
Page Count: 16
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Partisanship and Voting Behavior, 1952-1996
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Abstract

I assess the extent of "partisan voting" in American national elections since 1952 using a series of simple probit analyses. My measure of partisan voting is sensitive both to changes in the distribution of partisanship and to changes in the electoral relevance of partisanship. I find that the impact of partisan loyalties on voting behavior has increased in each of the last six presidential elections, reaching a level in 1996 almost 80 percent higher than in 1972-and significantly higher than in any presidential election in at least 50 years. The impact of partisanship on voting behavior in congressional elections has also increased markedly, albeit more recently and to a level still well below that of the 1950s. I conclude that the conventional wisdom among scholars and commentators regarding the "decline of parties" in American politics is badly outdated.

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