Electoral Discrepancies

There is a frustrating disconnect between different facets of American public opinion and voting behavior: the inconsistency between public opinion about a wide range of topics and Americans' identification with the two major political parties and especially their voting behavior in presidential elections. (I don't focus on off-year elections, since their electorates -- roughly 20 percentage points smaller than in presidential contests -- don't always act on the same kinds of stimuli.) Polls indicate that public opinion leans to the right on many issues. When pollsters tap party allegiance, however, Democrats outnumber Republicans. A late July poll for the Pew Research Center for The People & The Press, for example, found that 48% of the public identified with or leaned to the Democrats, 37% identified with or leaned to the GOP, and the remainder were Independents or did not answer. This is important, because party identification is the most important determinant of how most...(Read Full Article)

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