Tag Archives: polarization

The World Wide Web and the U.S. Political News Market

People who visit online news and political sites are more politically extreme. No serious observer of American politics would be surprised if you made two basic claims: (1) Small-circulation media outlets (websites, cable channels, independent newspapers) can be far more ideologically extreme than large-circulation outlets (network news) that need to appeal to a large audience […]

Partisan Polarization and Congressional Accountability in House Elections

It may have been true 20, 30, or 40 years ago that members of Congress could evade accountability for Congress’s overall activities, but rising polarization has enabled voters to punish or reward Representatives for Congress’s collective performance. Shortly before the 2008 Congressional elections, only 36% believed that most members of Congress deserved reelection. These numbers […]

No Middle Ground: How Informal Party Organizations Control Nominations and Polarize Legislatures

Parties control the public behavior of their office holders by acting as gatekeepers to political office The debate on the influence of political parties on the political process until recently has been restricted to parties in government. ¬†Scholars have focused their debate primarily¬†on the impact of party on the actions of a legislator in the […]

Candidate Positioning and Voter Choice

The lengthy previous literature on candidate positioning has failed to distinguish empirically between these three theories–something that Tomz and Van Houweling (claim to) do in this article. Issue-based voting seems simple enough on its face: Support the candidate who will produce the policies you want. Simple as it sounds, though, there are three competing theories […]

Are Voters Sensitive to Terrorism? Direct Evidence from the Israeli Electorate

Terrorism within a particular locality exerts a strong effect, particularly if it occurs within three months of election day. In general, support for right-bloc parties tends to rise in localities that experience terror attacks. Since 1984 Israeli has endured over 500 terrorist attacks, resulting in over 1000 fatalities. These attacks, together with the frequency of […]

Framing Public Opinion in Competitive Democracies

The public wouldn’t get the policies it wants; it would get the policies it was duped into wanting. In a democracy, politicians and policy outcomes should be responsive to changes in public opinion. But what if politicians (or others, such as media commentators) were able to manipulate public opinion through propaganda or other, more subtle […]

Effects of “In-Your-Face” Television Discourse on Perceptions of a Legitimate Opposition

Why can some Americans agree to disagree with their “worthy opposition” while others dismiss their political opponents as irrational lunatics? Do we truly believe that ALL red-state residents are ignorant racist fascist knuckle-dragging NASCAR-obsessed cousin-marrying road-kill-eating tobacco-juice-dribbling gun-fondling religious fanatic rednecks; or that ALL blue-state residents are godless unpatriotic pierced-nose Volvo-driving France-loving left-wing Communist latte-sucking […]