Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details

The Forum

A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics

Ed. by Disalvo, Daniel / Stonecash, Jeffrey

4 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2015: 0.250
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.318

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.255
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.296
Impact per Publication (IPP) 2015: 0.191

See all formats and pricing
Volume 3, Issue 2 (Jul 2005)


Why Can't We All Just Get Along? The Reality of a Polarized America

Alan Abramowitz
  • Emory University
/ Kyle Saunders
  • Colorado State University
Published Online: 2005-07-18 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1540-8884.1076

According to Morris Fiorina, Americans are moderate, tolerant, and ambivalent in their political attitudes. This has always been true and it is, if anything, more true today than in the past. The culture war is almost entirely an elite phenomenon, driven by a small group of activists on the left and right who exert influence far out of proportion to their numbers. It is the elites and activists who are polarized, not the public. In this study we use data from the American National Election Studies and national exit polls to test five major claims made by Fiorina about the state of public opinion in the United States. This evidence indicates that while some of the claims of culture war proponents are overstated, there are deep divisions in America between Democrats and Republicans, between red state voters and blue state voters, and between religious voters and secular voters. These divisions are not confined to a small minority of elected officials and activists—they involve a large segment of the public and they are likely to increase in the future as a result of long-term trends affecting American society.

Keywords: elections; political parties; American voter; partisanship

About the article

Published Online: 2005-07-18

Citation Information: The Forum, ISSN (Online) 1540-8884, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2202/1540-8884.1076. Export Citation

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Chad Kinsella, Colleen McTague, and Kevin N. Raleigh
Applied Geography, 2015, Volume 62, Page 404
Magdalena Wojcieszak and Vincent Price
Political Communication, 2012, Volume 29, Number 3, Page 299
Cecilie Gaziano
Open Journal of Political Science, 2013, Volume 03, Number 04, Page 116
Danielle Bessett, Caitlin Gerdts, Lisa L. Littman, Megan L. Kavanaugh, and Alison Norris
Culture, Health & Sexuality, 2015, Volume 17, Number 6, Page 733
Matthew L. Bergbower, Scott D. McClurg, and Thomas M. Holbrook
Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 2015, Page 1
Geiguen Shin and David J. Webber
The Social Science Journal, 2014, Volume 51, Number 3, Page 386
Caitlin L. Davies, Chris G. Sibley, and James H. Liu
Social Psychology, 2014, Volume 45, Number 6, Page 431
Lilliana Mason
American Journal of Political Science, 2015, Volume 59, Number 1, Page 128
Aaron C. Weinschenk
Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties, 2014, Volume 24, Number 1, Page 73
Peter T. C. Chang
Religion, State and Society, 2012, Volume 40, Number 2, Page 192
John Dinan and Jac Heckelman
The Social Science Journal, 2010, Volume 47, Number 3, Page 689
Joseph Losco and Ione DeOllos
Journal of Political Science Education, 2007, Volume 3, Number 3, Page 251
Robert Y. Shapiro and Yaeli Bloch‐Elkon
Critical Review, 2008, Volume 20, Number 1-2, Page 115
Ronnee Schreiber
Political Communication, 2010, Volume 27, Number 4, Page 432
Benjamin Highton and Cindy D. Kam
The Journal of Politics, 2011, Volume 73, Number 01, Page 202
Dana R. Carney, John T. Jost, Samuel D. Gosling, and Jeff Potter
Political Psychology, 2008, Volume 29, Number 6, Page 807
Seth C. McKee
PS: Political Science & Politics, 2008, Volume 41, Number 01

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in