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Facing the Challenge of DemocracyExplorations in the Analysis of Public Opinion and Political Participation$
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Paul M. Sniderman and Benjamin Highton

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151106

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151106.001.0001

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Political Participation, Polarization, and Public Opinion

Political Participation, Polarization, and Public Opinion

Activism and the Merging of Partisan and Ideological Polarization

(p.185) VII Political Participation, Polarization, and Public Opinion
Facing the Challenge of Democracy

John H. Aldrich

Melanie Freeze

Princeton University Press

This chapter considers how dynamics in public opinion combine with changes in participation and in the degree of elite (specifically, congressional) polarization in this regard. It begins by discussing the systematic changes in polarization and participation. Since the importance of a liberal-conservative dimension and left-right thinking in the public may be of less obvious importance for understanding American politics, given its peripheral position in the study of public opinion, this chapter develops a set of claims regarding its existence and relevance and then considers how it might fit into the polarization-participation-public opinion dynamics. To support its arguments, the chapter draws on data from American National Election Studies (ANES) surveys, surveys of donors to political campaigns, and surveys of delegates to national conventions.

Keywords:   public opinion, political participation, polarization, activism, partisan polarization, ideological polarization

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