The Journal of Politics


A New Partisan Voter

Joseph Bafumia1 and Robert Y. Shapiroa2

a1 Dartmouth college

a2 Columbia University


The American electorate today is different from that described in The American Voter. Both the 1950s era of ideologically innocent party voting and the subsequent period of partisan dealignment are over. Some political scientists began to describe the New American Voter as a new partisan evolution occurred. What has not been fully appreciated in the twentieth/twenty-first century history of voting studies is how partisanship returned in a form more ideological and more issue based along liberal-conservative lines than it has been in more than 30 years. This is visible in the strength of partisan voting, in the relationship between partisanship and ideology, and in the strength of the relationship of partisanship and self-reported liberal-conservative ideology to the public's economic, social, racial, and religious attitudes and opinions. Not only has the public responded in a striking way to changes in politics and its context, but the current transformation has also appeared to be strikingly enduring and difficult to shake, based on survey evidence for this new partisan voter.

(Received February 15 2007)

(Accepted March 02 2008)


Joseph Bafumi is an assistant professor of government, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755. Robert Y. Shapiro is a professor of political science, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.