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Party Definition and Party Differentiation

Everett Carll Ladd, Jr. and Charles D. Hadley
The Public Opinion Quarterly
Vol. 37, No. 1 (Spring, 1973), pp. 21-34
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2747812
Page Count: 14
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Party Definition and Party Differentiation
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Abstract

This article contrasts the "issue profiles" that emerge when the two major political parties are defined according to differing criteria. Over a wide array of issues, and from 1948 to the present, the Democratic party as defined by behavioral criteria (voting support) has been more "liberal" than its self-identified counterpart, while behavioral Republicans are persistently more "conservative" than self-identified GOP partisans. Ladd and Hadley note that in periods distinguished by rapid social change and partisan realignment, the adequacy of self-perception for determining the definition of party membership is called into question.

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