Decline Of American Political Parties, 1952-1996 / Edition 5

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"The major theme of Chapter 12, new to this edition, is the missed opportunities for the parties in the 1996 elections. The year started with a highly visible confrontation over the budget that could have revitalized the party coalitions if the issues had been carried over to the election. However, the candidate-centered campaign of 1996 ultimately did little to resolve these issues or to reinvigorate partisanship in the electorate. In spite of the opportunities for getting new voters to the polls created by the Motor Voter Act, voter turnout in 1996 was the lowest since 1924. Turning out the vote is one of the most crucial functions of political parties, and their inability to mobalize more than half of the eligible electorate strongly indicates their future decline in importance to voters. Until citizens support the parties more by showing up to cast votes for their candidates, the decline of American political parties must be considered to be an ongoing phenomenon."

--From the preface

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review - William Schneider
Wattenberg's skillful analysis of poll data demonstrates how beliefs are encouraged by the politicians and the media through their efforts to personalize issues and create a candidate-centered political universe.
Washington Monthly - Charles Peters
An excellent examination of an important and lamentable development in the nation's history.
Borderlines - Steven Hurst
This is the fifth edition of what has by now become something of a classic text...One of the great strengths of this book is Wattenberg's careful use of empirical data in support of his argument. By taking pains he has been able to effectively discredit some claims that were essentially based on impressionistic analysis whilst confirming others. The result is a text that has stood the test of time extremely well. He deals robustly and effectively with his critics, to whom the election of 1992 must count as a devastating blow. All in all this is a must read for anyone seriously interested in American politics.
Charles Peters
An excellent examination of an important and lamentable development in the nation's history. -- Washington Monthly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674194359
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1998
  • Edition description: New
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 292
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Martin P. Wattenberg is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine.
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Table of Contents

Preface, 1998


1. The Concept of Political Partisanship

2. The Stability of Partisan Attitudes

3. Independent or No Preference?

4. Negativity or Neutrality?

5. Political Leadership and the Parties

6. The Role of the Media

7. Demographic Trends

8. The Public as an Echo Chamber
9. The Elections of 1984 and 1988: Realignment without Revitalization

10. The 1992 Election: Ross Perot and the Independent Voter

11. The 1994 Election: Perot Voters and the Republican Shift

12. The 1996 Election: Missed Opportunities for the Parties



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