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The culture wars & political polarization in perspective : why polarization and its perturbations are a persistant [i.e. persistent] puzzle in political science

Author: Donald Michael Gooch; John R Petrocik
Publisher: Columbia, Mo. : University of Missouri--Columbia, 2009.
Dissertation: Ph. D. University of Missouri--Columbia 2009
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Document : Thesis/dissertation : eBook   Computer File : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
Political polarization in the American electorate has received a great deal of attention in recent years with most of the research focusing on social issues and their impact on electoral outcomes. However, scant attention has been paid to polarization on other issue dimensions and the mass-elite affects on polarization. I develop several empirical measures of political polarization: variance to assess the spread of  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic dissertations
Electronic books
Material Type: Document, Thesis/dissertation, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Donald Michael Gooch; John R Petrocik
OCLC Number: 698377524
Notes: The entire thesis text is included in the research.pdf file; the official abstract appears in the short.pdf file; a non-technical public abstract appears in the public.pdf file.
Title from PDF of title page (University of Missouri--Columbia, viewed on Jan. 26, 2011).
Thesis advisor: Dr. John R. Petrocik.
Description: 1 online resource (xvi, 426 pages) : illustrations (some color), color maps
Other Titles: Culture wars and political polarization in perspective
Responsibility: by Donald Michael Gooch.

Abstract:

Political polarization in the American electorate has received a great deal of attention in recent years with most of the research focusing on social issues and their impact on electoral outcomes. However, scant attention has been paid to polarization on other issue dimensions and the mass-elite affects on polarization. I develop several empirical measures of political polarization: variance to assess the spread of opinion and kurtosis as a measure of bimodality. I assess polarization using ANES and GSS cumulative data from 1970 - 2008 on several prominent social issues such as abortion, women's equality, affirmative action, and non-social issues such as government jobs programs and defense spending. I examine public opinion polarization as well as the relationship between mass public opinion and elite public opinion using D-W nominate scores as a measure of elite opinion. I find there is significant polarization of social and non-social policy opinion, both in terms of the average public preferred level of government action in these areas and the conflict over it. Contrary to the consensus in the literature, I find that elite opinion is responsive to mass opinion and that there is a recursive relationship between mass and elite ideology.

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