The Two Majorities: The Issue Context of Modern American Politics

Overview

In 'The Two Majorities' Byron Shafer and William Claggett offer groundbreaking political analysis that resolves many of the seeming contradictions in the contemporary American political scene. Drawing on an unusually large sample of all Americans, taken by the Gallup organization, Shafer and Claggett argue that the recent turbulence in American politics is in some ways superficial. Below the surface, they contend, the political preferences of the American people remain ...
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Overview

In 'The Two Majorities' Byron Shafer and William Claggett offer groundbreaking political analysis that resolves many of the seeming contradictions in the contemporary American political scene. Drawing on an unusually large sample of all Americans, taken by the Gallup organization, Shafer and Claggett argue that the recent turbulence in American politics is in some ways superficial. Below the surface, they contend, the political preferences of the American people remain remarkably stable.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Drawing on statistical analysis of a survey of some 8,000 Americans, the authors argue that the best strategy for either party is to focus the voters' attention on the party's most successful cluster of issues--the economic/welfare factor for the Democrats, the cultural/national factor for the Republicans. Paper edition (unseen), $14.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Public Opinion Quarterly
Byron Shafer and William Claggett have given us an important book. While attending ably to their primary objective of advancing our understanding of the contemporary partisan realignment, the authors manage as well to contribute significantly to another subject of even greater scope.

— Everett Carll Ladd

Perspectives on Political Science
The stated scholarly mission of the book is to tease out the structure of American political opinion in the late twentieth century: the central concerns of that opinion, their roots and the distribution of preferences on them, and the gathering and dividing of preferences in partisan ways. In addition, Shafer and Claggett consider the implications of an opinion structure for practical—and successful—politicking.

— Edward Sidlow

American Political Science Review
Overall, The Two Majorities is an interesting and useful study of public opinion. It provides readers with a good picture of public opinion and it connects that picture with sound strategic advice for each party about what sort of issues to emphasize and to ignore.

— Eric R. A. N. Smith

Public Opinion Quarterly - Everett Carll Ladd
Byron Shafer and William Claggett have given us an important book. While attending ably to their primary objective of advancing our understanding of the contemporary partisan realignment, the authors manage as well to contribute significantly to another subject of even greater scope.
Perspectives on Political Science - Edward Sidlow
The stated scholarly mission of the book is to tease out the structure of American political opinion in the late twentieth century: the central concerns of that opinion, their roots and the distribution of preferences on them, and the gathering and dividing of preferences in partisan ways. In addition, Shafer and Claggett consider the implications of an opinion structure for practical—and successful—politicking.
American Political Science Review - Eric R. A. N. Smith
Overall, The Two Majorities is an interesting and useful study of public opinion. It provides readers with a good picture of public opinion and it connects that picture with sound strategic advice for each party about what sort of issues to emphasize and to ignore.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

Meet the Author

John Anthony Maltese teaches in the Department of Political Scienceat the University of Georgia. His books include Spin Control: The White House Office of Communications and the Management of Presidential News.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

List of Figures
List of Tables
Series Editor's Foreword
Preface
1 The Notion of an Issue Context: Public Wishes and the Two Majorities 1
2 Dimensions of Political Opinion: "Great Issues" for the Modern Era 10
3 A Structure for Political Opinion: Political Parties and Partisan Preferences 30
4 A Structure for Political Opinion: Social Groups and Group Preferences 51
5 A Framework for Politicking: Parties, Groups, and the Issue Context 79
6 The Shape of Policy Options: Activists, Followers, and Political Preferences 111
7 The Shape of Policy Options: The War inside the Parties 137
8 An Issue Context for Contemporary Politics: The Two Majorities and Partisan Conflict 168
Appendix: Texts for Survey Questions 193
Notes 195
Index 223
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