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Critical Realignments and the Public Opinion Poll

dc.contributor.authorGeer, John Gray
dc.identifier.citationGeer, John G. "Critical Realignments and the Public Opinion Poll." Journal of Politics 53.2 (1991): 434-53.en_US
dc.descriptionAn article originally published in Journal of Politics, v. 53, no. 2 (May 1991), p. 434-453.en_US
dc.description.abstract"With the advent of the public opinion poll, politicians began to have access to highly reliable information about the electorate's views on issues. Prior to this development, party leaders could only make educated guesses about public opinion. These guesses, however, were often incorrect, since they were based on unsystematic evidence. But armed with polls, parties should avoid such errors, approximating Downs' (1957) assumption of certainty. If so, rational parties should converge near the center of the distribution of public opinion. Or in other words, parties should no longer polarize on highly salient issues that confront the nation. This conclusion has important implications for the study of partisan realignments. The best work on the subject by scholars like Sundquist (1983) and Carmines and Stimson (1989) argue that one requirement for a realignment is that the parties must polarize on an issue of high salience to the public. Yet well-informed, rational parties should not engage in such behavior, suggesting that critical realignments may be things of the past. Note that partisan change still occurs-perhaps along the lines of Key's (1959) notion of secular realignment or Carmines' and Stimson's (1989) concept of 'issue evolution'"--From article.en_US
dc.publisherCambridge University Pressen_US
dc.subject.lcshPublic opinion pollsen_US
dc.subject.lcshPublic opinion -- United Statesen_US
dc.subject.lcshUnited States -- Politics and governmenten_US
dc.subject.lcshPolitical partiesen_US
dc.subject.lcshPolarization (Social sciences)en_US
dc.titleCritical Realignments and the Public Opinion Pollen_US
dc.description.collegeCollege of Arts and Scienceen_US
dc.description.departmentDepartment of Political Scienceen_US

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