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Ideological Realignment in the Contemporary U.S. Electorate Revisited

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In this study, we revisit the ideological-realignment theory proposed by Abramowitz and Saunders (1998) by assessing the varying impact a person's ideology had on his or her partisan identification for individuals in different regions and between men and women. Method.

Through an examination of the NES cumulative data file and the 1992–1994 NES Panel Study, we present a series of tabular findings, an OLS regression model, and partial correlation coefficients to assess these changing subgroup dynamics. Results.

Between 1978 and 1994, the impact of a person's ideology on his or her party identification grew in magnitude, while the impact of respondents' parental party identification on their own party identification waned. However, these changes were not felt uniformly throughout the electorate, with Southern white males and Southern white females exhibiting the greatest changes. In the case of Southern white males, racial issues now appear to be related to their party identification. Conclusion.

We find support for the ideological-realignment theory, but find evidence that such changes occurred rather unevenly throughout the electorate, suggesting that different dynamics of realignment may be at work simultaneously.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of Arkansas; 2: University of Arkansas

Publication date: 01 September 2003

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