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Political Behavior of the American Electorate

Political Behavior of the American Electorate

Fourteenth Edition

January 2018 | 344 pages | CQ Press

The 2016 elections took place under intense political polarization and uncertain economic conditions, to widely unexpected results. How did Trump pull off his victory?

Political Behavior of the American Electorate, Fourteenth Edition, attempts to answer this question by interpreting data from the most recent American National Election Study to provide a thorough analysis of the 2016 elections and the current American political behavior. Authors Elizabeth Theiss-Morse and Michael Wagner continue the tradition of Flanigan and Zingale to illustrate and document trends in American political behavior with the best longitudinal data available. The authors also put these trends in context by focusing on the major concepts and characteristics that shape Americans’ responses to politics.

In the completely revised Fourteenth Edition, readers will explore get-out-the-vote efforts and the reasons people voted the way they did, as well as the nature and impact of partisanship, news media coverage, and other issues in 2016—all with an eye toward understanding the trends that led up to the historic decision. 

Tables and Figures
Chapter 1. Democratic Beliefs and American Democracy
Trust in Government  
Attitudes toward Democracy  
What Leads to Democratic Beliefs and Values?  
Maintaining a Democracy  
Suggested Readings  
Internet Resources  
Chapter 2. Electoral Context and Strategy
The Fundamentals  
The Rules of the Game  
The Unexpected  
Understanding Fundamentals and Winning Elections  
Suggested Readings  
Chapter 3. Turnout and Participation in Elections
Turnout in American Elections  
Voters and Nonvoters  
Institutional Impediments to Turnout  
Psychological Motivation, Genetics, and Turnout  
Campaign Activity and Mobilization in American Elections  
Participation in Campaigns  
Suggested Readings  
Internet Resources  
Chapter 4. Partisanship and Party Change
Party Loyalty  
Party Identification  
Voting Behavior  
Are Independents Apolitical?  
Partisans and Electoral Change  
Party Systems and Realignments  
Are Conditions Right for a Realignment?  
Partisan Change  
Affective Partisanship  
The Future of Parties and Partisanship  
Suggested Readings  
Chapter 5. Group Characteristics and Social Networks
Primary Groups and Social Networks  
Group Identity and Partisanship  
Social Cross-Pressures  
Suggested Readings  
Internet Resources  
Chapter 6. Public Opinion and Ideology
The Measurement of Public Opinion  
Domestic Economic Issues  
Racial Issues  
Social Issues  
Homeland Security and Terrorism  
International Affairs  
Nationalism and the 2016 Election  
Issues and Partisanship  
Political Ideology  
Public Opinion and Political Leadership  
Suggested Readings  
Internet Resources  
Chapter 7. Political Communication and the Mass Media
Functions of the News Media  
Types of Media and Their Users  
Media Bias and Audience Bias  
Media Coverage and the Public Agenda  
Political Communication and Polarization  
Social Media and Contemporary Politics  
Political Communication and Attitude Change  
Campaigns and Political Communication  
Presidential Primary Campaigns  
Suggested Readings  
Internet Resources  
Chapter 8. Vote Choice and Electoral Decisions
Social Characteristics and Presidential Vote Choice  
Partisanship and Ideology  
Short-Term Forces  
Determinants of Vote Choice  
The Popular Vote and the Electoral College  
Vote Choice in Other Types of Elections  
The Meaning of an Election  
Suggested Readings  
Internet Resources  
Appendix: Survey Research Methods
Survey Data Collection  
Validity of Survey Questions  
Validity versus Continuity  
Suggested Readings  
Internet Resources  
Key features
  • Up-to-date research from political science and political psychology offers readers an in-depth understanding of the 2016 elections drawing on the most
  • New characteristics of the American people are identified to help readers better understand trends in voter turnout, the loss of trust in government that many citizens have expressed, and changes in voter attachment to political parties, coupled with an increasing polarization of political activists and elites.
  • An examination of the factors that influenced the 2016 election results is put them in context with previous elections and to help readers draw generalizable conclusions about political behavior in the American electorate.
  • A focus on new elements in American politics (such as the rise of social networking in politics) shows readers how these developments might challenge traditional explanations of political behavior.
  • A closer look at the political science election forecasting statistical models and claims of these models being unreliable gets readers to think critically about the veracity of these claims and ask questions. Is the 2016 election an outlier? Was it really that different from other presidential elections? Does it portend significant changes to come in the conduct (and analysis) of American elections?
  • A comprehensive analysis of Clinton and Trump’s campaign ads shows readers how these campaigns differed between the candidates as well as how they differed from past elections. 
  • Numerous new tables and figures bring concepts to life as well as guide readers through the process of interpreting data. 
  • An extraordinarily rich series of studies dating back to 1952 provides readers with a comprehensive understanding of the history of American elections and puts recent trends into contexts.
  • Focused on electoral behavior and voting, this is the only textbook on the market that aims to analyze and illustrate the most recent trends of American political behavior.
  • Several generations of scholars are cited, providing readers with analysis and interpretation from the most respected minds in the field. 

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