Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

What If the Pundits Are Right After All? A Comment on Polarization and Sorting

ARCHIVES
James Steidl/Shutterstock.com

Morris Fiorina's claim that polarization in the United States is limited to what he refers to as the political class -- a group made up of elected officials and a small set of activists -- is far from the consensus view among political scientists who study public opinion and voting behavior. In addition to myself, a number of prominent scholars have presented evidence in recent years documenting the rise of polarization within the American electorate and the close connection between elite polarization and mass polarization.

Fiorina argues that Americans have become better sorted by party in recent years but not more polarized. He acknowledges that there is a stronger relationship between party affiliation on the one hand and ideology and policy preferences on the other, but he claims that this is different from polarization, which involves a shift in opinion away from the center and toward the extremes. In fact, however, survey data shows that sorting and polarization are two sides of the same phenomenon. As Americans have become better sorted by party, they have also become more polarized. Thus, evidence from the American National Election Studiesshow that the percentage of voters who place themselves in the center of a seven-point liberal-conservative scale has decreased, while the percentage who place themselves near the left and right ends of the scale has increased considerably since the 1970s.

Read more at The Atlantic.

(Image via James Steidl/Shutterstock.com)

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.