Unconventional Wisdom: Facts and Myths About American Voters by Karen M. Kaufmann

By Karen M. Kaufmann

Overdue deciders opt for the challenger; turnout is helping the Democrats; the gender hole effects from a surge in Democratic choice between women--these and plenty of different myths are normal fare between commonplace electorate, political pundits, or even a few teachers. yet are those traditional wisdoms--familiar to a person who watches Sunday morning speak shows--really valid?Unconventional knowledge deals a singular but hugely available synthesis of what we all know approximately American citizens and elections. It not just presents an built-in assessment of the imperative subject matters in American politics--parties, polarization, turnout, partisan bias, crusade results, swing electorate, the gender hole, and the early life vote--it upends lots of our primary preconceptions. most significantly, it indicates that the yankee citizens is far extra sturdy than now we have been ended in think, and that the balloting styles we see this day have deep roots in our historical past. all through, the publication offers finished details on vote casting styles; illuminates (and corrects) well known myths approximately electorate and elections; and info the empirical foundations of traditional wisdoms that many comprehend poorly or on no account. Written via 3 specialists on American politics, Unconventional knowledge serves as either a customary reference and a concise evaluate of the topic. either informative and witty, the ebook is probably going to turn into a typical paintings within the box, crucial examining for a person drawn to American politics.

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The Voting Choices of Leaners and Identifiers Strength of Democratic Party Identification Election Years 1952–1960 1964–1972 1976 1980–1988 1992–1996 2000 2004 Strength of Republican Party Identification Strong Weak Leaner Leaner Weak Strong 88 84 91 88 93 96 97 65 63 74 66 74 85 83 72 67 72 70 70 72 84 9 19 17 18 17 13 10 9 24 23 13 15 16 11 1 6 4 6 3 2 2 Note: Table entries equal the percentage of each category who voted for the Democratic candidate. Source: ANES from selected years. 21 Democratic leaners voted for Democratic candidates at almost the same rate as weak identifiers (an average of 72 percent over the fifty years of the table).

The average thermometer difference between weak and leaning Democrats is slightly less than 4 degrees, with weak identifiers almost always slightly “warmer” toward the Democratic Party and Democratic candidates and slightly “colder” to the GOP and Republican candidates. 2. Feelings toward the Parties and Candidates Democratic Identifiers Strong Weak Leaner Republican Identifiers Neither Leaner Weak Strong 2004 Bush Cheney Republican Party Average Kerry Edwards Democratic Party Average 25 26 43 43 36 38 51 46 71 59 78 64 91 77 27 26 46 44 42 39 49 49 62 64 71 71 83 84 77 77 65 65 65 63 51 53 41 47 38 44 25 34 83 79 73 68 65 64 55 53 48 45 45 46 32 31 40 46 48 52 47 49 56 53 68 61 70 62 80 74 38 41 44 48 46 47 51 53 62 64 70 67 79 77 79 70 67 61 64 60 53 50 43 46 47 52 33 43 84 78 73 67 64 63 52 52 44 44 46 48 32 36 2000 Bush Cheney Republican Party Average Gore Lieberman Democratic Party Average Note: Table entries are average thermometer scores (0 (0 to 100 100).

We do not believe that this distinction is consequential for recognizing the impact of the preference on a person’s political behavior. Second, the evidence indicates that party preference is often formed in the family and through multiple family and social experiences that have weak political content. Individuals learn to think of themselves as a Democrat or Republican because significant figures in their social environment express a preference for one party over the other. Finally, the intensity of the preference varies, and experiences can make the initial attachment to a party more firm or they can weaken it.

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