Ideological Migration in Partisan Strongholds: Evidence from a Quantitative Case Study

Torben Lütjen 1  and Robert Matschoß 1
  • 1 Institut für Deutsches und Internationales Parteienrecht und Parteienforschung (PRuF), Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
Torben Lütjen
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  • Torben Lütjen is Assistant Professor at the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany. In his current research, he analyzes the mechanisms behind the rise of ideological polarization in the US and the decline of ideological competition in Europe. The project is funded with a Schumpeter-Fellowship by the Volkswagen Foundation.
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and Robert Matschoß
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  • Robert Matschoß is a research associate at the Heinrich-Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany. His research interests include political parties and elections, political communications and transatlantic relations.
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Abstract

Geographic sorting of the electorate along partisan lines has received increased attention by scholars following the publication of Bill Bishop’s and Robert Cushing’s The Big Sort (2008). The evidence presented in this paper stems from an original public opinion survey in two Wisconsin landslide counties. We find that the majority among migrants to these partisan strongholds have shared the partisanship of the respective political majority. Using logistic regression analysis, we show that partisanship as well as specific lifestyle preferences mattered in people’s decisions to migrate into these partisan strongholds. We also find that partisanship is a factor in potential out-migration: residential satisfaction is lower among the respective political minorities, and relevant shares of the political minority say they consider moving away for political reasons. Among the members of the minority who consider leaving the county about one third say they do so because they dislike the politics of the people there. Our findings on the two counties, each a prototypical Democratic and Republican stronghold, lend further support to the Big Sort hypothesis.

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