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The Forum

A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics

Ed. by Shafer, Byron / Disalvo, Daniel

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If Everyone Votes Their Party, Why Do Presidential Election Outcomes Vary So Much?

Daron Shaw1

1University of Texas at Austin

Citation Information: The Forum. Volume 10, Issue 3, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, DOI: 10.1515/1540-8884.1519, October 2012

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Despite mountains of election returns, opinion surveys, and controlled experiments, political scientists have not offered a particularly compelling explanation for the most important conundrum facing students of U.S. elections: how could we have had such different election results across the past decade when the electorate is so polarized along partisan lines? Relying mostly on data from the American National Election Studies, this article examines the nature of party attachments and presidential voting in the 2000s, with an eye towards estimating the relative importance of persuasion and mobilization for variation in electoral outcomes. I also consider the most obvious source for future party system transformation: the mobilization of Hispanic-American and Asian-American voting cohorts.

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