7 Things I’ve Learned About Political Polarization Morris P. Fiorina Pearson Politics Now Conference April 16, 2010
1a. Elites have polarized (and sorted), but Depends on Baseline
Why has Congress Polarized since the 1960s? Source: Data provided by Keith Poole.
Why has Congress Depolarized since 1900? 56 th  House of Representatives (1899-1901) 87 th  House of Representatives (1961...
Congressional Polarization A Century Apart 56 th  House of Representatives (1899-1901) 106 th  House of Representatives (1...
1b. Elites have polarized (and sorted),  but Agenda Dependency   Snyder (LSQ 1992) Roberts and Smith (AJPS 2006) Lee (2010)
Agenda Dependence
1c. Elites have polarized (and sorted),  but Agenda Dependency      Behavioral  Polarization  Preference Polarization?
Ideology Thermometer Scores of  Party Identifiers and Activists Source: ANES Notes:  Activists are defined as respondents ...
Party Elites Have Become More Extreme  (From Self-Placement of National Convention Delegates on 5-Point Liberal-Conservati...
<ul><li>2. Respondents believe that elites  </li></ul><ul><li>have polarized </li></ul>
Respondent Perceptions   Source: ANES
Average Placement of Party Positions Source: ANES
3. Respondent  positions  have not    polarized
No Ideological Polarization in 2008
No Increasing Ideological Polarization Percentage of Americans who classify themselves as moderates or DK)
No Polarization on Policy Issues in 2008*   Source: 2008 ANES  * “Haven’t thought much about it” responses recoded as mode...
Minimal Changes in Policy Views: 1984-2008 (Percentage Point Changes in Scale Position between 1984 and 2008) Extremely Li...
<ul><li>4 . Voter c hoices  and  evaluations </li></ul><ul><li>have become more polarized </li></ul>
Republican Percent of Two-Party Presidential Vote Source: American National Election Studies. Note: Party identification i...
Polarization of Choices Centrist Strategy Base Strategy Gore Bush  D   R D JFK Nixon R
Distribution of State Presidential Approval
Distribution of State Senatorial Approval
Distribution of State Gubernatorial Approval
The 2004 Presidential Election
Party Control: Post-2004 Elections
<ul><li>5. Partisans have become better </li></ul><ul><li>sorted, but imperfect and lots of  </li></ul><ul><li>issue varia...
When Should Abortion Be Legal?  (2008 NES) Source: ANES, 2008 22 50 Always as a personal choice 16 13 For a clear need 35 ...
2008 NYT Delegate Survey Source: NYTimes/CBS Poll. September 1, 2008. 38 54 More Strict Gun Control 17 24 Personal Religio...
<ul><li>6 . Many (most) statistical analyses of </li></ul><ul><li>electoral behavior over time are </li></ul><ul><li>under...
Candidate Competition in Two Dimensions: Arial View
Democrats and Republicans Separate on the Moral Dimension Economic Moral Clinton LBJ Bush Gore Goldwater
Simulation: Unchanging Voters, Moving Candidates Economic Moral Clinton LBJ Bush Gore Goldwater
Unchanging Voters Appear to Change As Candidates Move
BISHOP: THE BIG SORT <ul><li>County Vote Change 1976-2004: </li></ul><ul><li>More competitive: 33 % </li></ul><ul><li>Less...
<ul><li>7 . Gerrymandering doesn’t cause </li></ul><ul><li>polarization </li></ul><ul><li>Ansolabehere and Snyder (AJPS 20...
The End Thank you
Mayer: Trends in U.S. Public Opinion   -.22 1.03 -1.38 -.98 -3.79 -.06 .64 -.16 -.53 .65 -.55 -.63 -17.12 -2.67 2.98 t-sta...
<ul><li>“Issues and groups that are divisive today were just as divisive in the 1970s and 1980s.”  </li></ul><ul><li>Willi...
 
Average Placement of Party Positions  Source: ANES
No Polarization on Policy Issues in 2008*  Source: 2008 ANES  * “Haven’t thought much about it” responses recoded as moder...
No Polarization on Policy Issues in 2008*  Source: 2008 ANES
Percentage of Respondents Who See Important Differences Between What the Parties Stand For: 1960 - 2008 Source: ANES
Party Sorting without Increasing Polarization 60 liberals,  40 conservatives  Democrats 40 liberals, 60 conservatives 100 ...
Should Federal Government Make it More Difficult to Buy a Gun? Source: 2004 ANES 40 78 More difficult 54 19 About the same...
Candidate Competition in Two Dimensions
So, marginal distributions of positions have not changed since the 1970s, but 4. Dimensions are more correlated   (more la...
Ideological Scores of Median Legislators, Committee Chair, and Prestige Chairs Democratic Controlled House of Representati...
Districts of Selected Democratic Representatives Source: Jay Cost and Real Clear Politics. http://www.realclearpolitics.co...
2004  NYT   Delegate Survey 35 72 Extremely important to work through UN 19 44 No legal recognition of gay relationships 2...
Partisan Differences: 1987-2007 Average percentage difference between the answers of Republicans and Democrats on 40 quest...
Average Placement of the Democratic and Republican Parties on the Lib-Con Scale  Source: ANES
No Polarization of Policy Positions :  1984-2008 (Percentage Point Changes in Scale Position between 1984 and 2008)   Extr...
 
No Ideological Polarization in 2008
1 6 2 6 7 7 2 4 4 1
No Polarization on Policy Issues in 2008   Source: 2008 ANES
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  • Whole discussion begins with elites – Poole and Rosenthal (1984) “The Polarization of American Politics”
  • But what if the discussion had begun in the 1960s when I was in grad school? Han and Brady (2007 BJPS) ... But what if the discussion had begun in the 1960s, when we were in grad school? (Han and Brady BJPS)
  • Whole discussion begins with elites – Poole and Rosenthal (1984)
  • Krehbiel / Lee / Roberts and Smith. Selection bias in occurrence of roll calls could overstate or understate polarization.
  • Parliamentary systems?
  • Attitudinal polarization
  • No evidence that 2008 electorate looks any different from 1976 electorate. Not ideological, but pragmatic.
  • So, if you wanted to argue that 1976 electorate and 2008 electorate were same, you’d be on pretty solid ground (except for party sorting)
  • But 90% of Republicans vote for Bush and 90% of Dems for Kerry. Polarization? A little geometry …
  • Sometimes we make things needlessly complicated: At same time this map represented an electorate set in stone …
  • Nobody bothered to look …
  • Even on abortion there are strong Democrats and strong Republicans whose views are “wrong.” Why do they stay Reps or Dems? Because they don’t care about the issue very much.
  • Book aimes mostly at a general audience
  • Here’s what’s been going on. In this picture moral dimension doesn’t matter
  • Assuming income determines policy stand, two interesting pie slices: Frank—false consciousness / Gelman—wealthy people in wealthy states
  • Moral issues have become more important? No, more CONSEQUENTIAL, but not more important.
  • Boris Shor (2008) Corruption?
  • Digress: Same on gun control and other issues—Republicans not homogeneous
  • Suppose there always was a second dimension—but no one noticed because candidates didn’t differ
  • One of the ironies of politics is that the bigger your win, the more heterogeneous is your coalition.
  • But sorting far from perfect at level of ordinary Americans—don’t differ nearly as much as political class
  • And still not that much
  • So, if you wanted to argue that 1976 electorate and 2008 electorate were same, you’d be on pretty solid ground (except for party sorting)
  • 1996-2006
  • Abramowitz: common, but really stacks deck in this case Wolfinger: re-fried least squares
  • Politics Now Mo Fiorina Political Polarization

    1. 1. 7 Things I’ve Learned About Political Polarization Morris P. Fiorina Pearson Politics Now Conference April 16, 2010
    2. 2. 1a. Elites have polarized (and sorted), but Depends on Baseline
    3. 3. Why has Congress Polarized since the 1960s? Source: Data provided by Keith Poole.
    4. 4. Why has Congress Depolarized since 1900? 56 th House of Representatives (1899-1901) 87 th House of Representatives (1961-1962)
    5. 5. Congressional Polarization A Century Apart 56 th House of Representatives (1899-1901) 106 th House of Representatives (1999-2001)
    6. 6. 1b. Elites have polarized (and sorted), but Agenda Dependency Snyder (LSQ 1992) Roberts and Smith (AJPS 2006) Lee (2010)
    7. 7. Agenda Dependence
    8. 8. 1c. Elites have polarized (and sorted), but Agenda Dependency  Behavioral Polarization Preference Polarization?
    9. 9. Ideology Thermometer Scores of Party Identifiers and Activists Source: ANES Notes: Activists are defined as respondents who engaged in 3 or more campaign activities as coded in vcf0723. Leaners are coded as partisans. The Liberal/Conservative Index (vcf0801) measures a respondent's relative thermometer ratings of &quot;Liberals&quot; and &quot;Conservatives.&quot; It is calculated by subtracting the Liberal Thermometer score from 97 and averaging the result with the Conservative Thermometer score. Cases are weighted by vcf0009.
    10. 10. Party Elites Have Become More Extreme (From Self-Placement of National Convention Delegates on 5-Point Liberal-Conservative Scale through 2008)
    11. 11. <ul><li>2. Respondents believe that elites </li></ul><ul><li>have polarized </li></ul>
    12. 12. Respondent Perceptions Source: ANES
    13. 13. Average Placement of Party Positions Source: ANES
    14. 14. 3. Respondent positions have not polarized
    15. 15. No Ideological Polarization in 2008
    16. 16. No Increasing Ideological Polarization Percentage of Americans who classify themselves as moderates or DK)
    17. 17. No Polarization on Policy Issues in 2008* Source: 2008 ANES * “Haven’t thought much about it” responses recoded as moderates
    18. 18. Minimal Changes in Policy Views: 1984-2008 (Percentage Point Changes in Scale Position between 1984 and 2008) Extremely Liberal-----------------------------------Extremely Conservative <ul><li>Left Shift </li></ul><ul><li>Health Insurance 5 4 3 0 -1 -3 0 </li></ul><ul><li>Spending/Services 4 3 5 -6 -3 -1 0 </li></ul><ul><li>Right Shift </li></ul><ul><li>Aid to Minorities -2 -2 -6 -8 -4 5 14 </li></ul><ul><li>Defense Spending -1 -2 0 -4 2 2 1 </li></ul><ul><li>Jobs/SoL -1 1 -1 -2 1 1 3 </li></ul>
    19. 19. <ul><li>4 . Voter c hoices and evaluations </li></ul><ul><li>have become more polarized </li></ul>
    20. 20. Republican Percent of Two-Party Presidential Vote Source: American National Election Studies. Note: Party identification includes strong and weak partisans.
    21. 21. Polarization of Choices Centrist Strategy Base Strategy Gore Bush D R D JFK Nixon R
    22. 22. Distribution of State Presidential Approval
    23. 23. Distribution of State Senatorial Approval
    24. 24. Distribution of State Gubernatorial Approval
    25. 25. The 2004 Presidential Election
    26. 26. Party Control: Post-2004 Elections
    27. 27. <ul><li>5. Partisans have become better </li></ul><ul><li>sorted, but imperfect and lots of </li></ul><ul><li>issue variation (Levendusky), </li></ul><ul><li>and far less than elites </li></ul>
    28. 28. When Should Abortion Be Legal? (2008 NES) Source: ANES, 2008 22 50 Always as a personal choice 16 13 For a clear need 35 26 Only in case of rape, incest, or when the woman's life is in danger 28 11% Never Strong Republicans Strong Democrats
    29. 29. 2008 NYT Delegate Survey Source: NYTimes/CBS Poll. September 1, 2008. 38 54 More Strict Gun Control 17 24 Personal Religious Beliefs Should Be Discussed in Presidential Campaigns 13 84 2001 Tax Cuts Should be Made Permanent 28 41 No Legal Recognition of Gay Relationships 21 27 More Important to protect Environment than to Meet Energy Needs 56 78 Right Thing for the US to Have Taken Military Action Against Iraq 23 61 Abortion Should Be Generally Available 50 87 More important to Provide Health Care than to Hold Down Taxes 33 55 Very/Fairly Good National Economy 28 43 Illegal Immigration is a Very Important Problem Identifier Difference Delegate Difference
    30. 30. <ul><li>6 . Many (most) statistical analyses of </li></ul><ul><li>electoral behavior over time are </li></ul><ul><li>under-identified </li></ul>
    31. 31. Candidate Competition in Two Dimensions: Arial View
    32. 32. Democrats and Republicans Separate on the Moral Dimension Economic Moral Clinton LBJ Bush Gore Goldwater
    33. 33. Simulation: Unchanging Voters, Moving Candidates Economic Moral Clinton LBJ Bush Gore Goldwater
    34. 34. Unchanging Voters Appear to Change As Candidates Move
    35. 35. BISHOP: THE BIG SORT <ul><li>County Vote Change 1976-2004: </li></ul><ul><li>More competitive: 33 % </li></ul><ul><li>Less competitive: 67 </li></ul><ul><li>Landslide counties: + 22% </li></ul>
    36. 36. <ul><li>7 . Gerrymandering doesn’t cause </li></ul><ul><li>polarization </li></ul><ul><li>Ansolabehere and Snyder (AJPS 2001) </li></ul><ul><li>McCarty, Poole and Rosenthal (AJPS 2009) </li></ul>
    37. 37. The End Thank you
    38. 38. Mayer: Trends in U.S. Public Opinion -.22 1.03 -1.38 -.98 -3.79 -.06 .64 -.16 -.53 .65 -.55 -.63 -17.12 -2.67 2.98 t-stat (12) .000 Services vs. Spending (12) -.002 Defense Spending (12) -.095 The Military (15) -.003 Labor Unions (12) -0.67 People on Welfare (12) -.032 Big Business (6) -.021 Environmentalists (9) .046 Gays and Lesbians (17) .019 Conservatives (17) -.005 Liberals Thermometers (8) -.001 Health Insurance (9) .002 Aid to Blacks (16) -.022 Role of Women (17) -.004 Guaranteed Jobs (17) .004 General Ideology Seven Point Scales (n) Coefficient Dependent Variable
    39. 39. <ul><li>“Issues and groups that are divisive today were just as divisive in the 1970s and 1980s.” </li></ul><ul><li>William Mayer </li></ul>
    40. 41. Average Placement of Party Positions Source: ANES
    41. 42. No Polarization on Policy Issues in 2008* Source: 2008 ANES * “Haven’t thought much about it” responses recoded as moderates
    42. 43. No Polarization on Policy Issues in 2008* Source: 2008 ANES
    43. 44. Percentage of Respondents Who See Important Differences Between What the Parties Stand For: 1960 - 2008 Source: ANES
    44. 45. Party Sorting without Increasing Polarization 60 liberals, 40 conservatives Democrats 40 liberals, 60 conservatives 100 moderates Period I Republicans Independents 10 liberals, 90 conservatives 100 moderates 90 liberals, 10 conservatives Period 2
    45. 46. Should Federal Government Make it More Difficult to Buy a Gun? Source: 2004 ANES 40 78 More difficult 54 19 About the same 6% 2% Make it easier Strong Republicans Strong Democrats
    46. 47. Candidate Competition in Two Dimensions
    47. 48. So, marginal distributions of positions have not changed since the 1970s, but 4. Dimensions are more correlated (more later)
    48. 49. Ideological Scores of Median Legislators, Committee Chair, and Prestige Chairs Democratic Controlled House of Representatives, Elected 1948 - 2006
    49. 50. Districts of Selected Democratic Representatives Source: Jay Cost and Real Clear Politics. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/horseraceblog/
    50. 51. 2004 NYT Delegate Survey 35 72 Extremely important to work through UN 19 44 No legal recognition of gay relationships 28 62 New anti-terrorism laws excessively restrict civil liberties 32 62 Abortion generally available 35 88 Make all or most tax cuts permanent 35 67 Cut taxes to improve economy 13 72 % Government should do more to solve national problems Identifier Difference Delegate Difference
    51. 52. Partisan Differences: 1987-2007 Average percentage difference between the answers of Republicans and Democrats on 40 questions asked consistently for 20 years Source: The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 2007.
    52. 53. Average Placement of the Democratic and Republican Parties on the Lib-Con Scale Source: ANES
    53. 54. No Polarization of Policy Positions : 1984-2008 (Percentage Point Changes in Scale Position between 1984 and 2008) Extremely Liberal------------Extremely Conservative <ul><li>Left Shift </li></ul><ul><li>Women’s Role 32 3 -4 -21 -4 -1 -3 </li></ul><ul><li>Health Insurance 5 4 3 0 -1 -3 0 </li></ul><ul><li>Spending/Services 4 3 5 -6 -3 -1 0 </li></ul><ul><li>Right Shift </li></ul><ul><li>Aid to Minorities -2 -2 -6 -8 -4 5 14 </li></ul><ul><li>Defense Spending -1 -2 0 -4 2 2 1 </li></ul><ul><li>Jobs/SoL -1 1 -1 -2 1 1 3 </li></ul>
    54. 56. No Ideological Polarization in 2008
    55. 57. 1 6 2 6 7 7 2 4 4 1
    56. 58. No Polarization on Policy Issues in 2008 Source: 2008 ANES

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