Recent national elections in Canada and the United States have been exciting, consequential contests. In the 2004 federal election in Canada, the Liberal Party narrowly clung to power after a volatile and bitter battle with the new Conservative Party. In 2006, the Conservative Party won a fragile victory, replacing the scandal-ridden Liberal government. In the 2000 American presidential election, Republican George W. Bush became the first candidate in over 100 years to capture the presidency without a majority popular vote. Four years later, Bush finally attained a narrow popular mandate but only after a hard fought campaign. Then, in 2006, the Republicans suffered a stunning reversal of political fortune, losing control of both Houses of Congress, as public opinion turned massively against the president.
In Making Political Choices: Canada and the United States, Harold Clarke, Allan Kornberg, and Thomas Scotto employ a wealth of new survey data to describe these elections and evaluate competing theories of party support and voter turnout. While examining various arguments, the authors contend that a valence politics model provides a powerful explanation of voting behavior in Canada, the United States, and other mature democracies.
Harold D. Clarke is the Ashbel Smith Professor in the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas. KornbergAllan:
Allan Kornberg is the Norb F. Schaefer Professor of Political Science at Duke University. He is the co-author, with Harold Clarke, of Citizens and Community: Political Support in a Representative Democracy (Cambridge University Press, 1992) and has written widely in books and journals on political parties, legislatures, and comparative political behavior.
Thomas J. Scotto is Lecturer in the Department of Government at the University of Essex. His research interests are in American and Canadian electoral behavior and public opinion, and he has published articles in journals such as Electoral Studies and the Journal of Politics.