A House Divided: Polarization and Its Effect on RAND
The American political climate has become increasingly polarized since the 1970s. Analysis by Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal shows that voting patterns within Congress have become increasingly divided along party lines, with fewer and fewer moderates. A major cause of polarization appears to be the geographic sorting of voters: Communities and regions of the country have become more politically and ideologically homogeneous, resulting in constituencies in congressional districts and in states that are more strongly conservative or liberal. Whatever its causes, the effects of increased polarization on political discourse and policymaking are clear: There is less room for deliberation between the two parties, and public policy decisionmaking is increasingly driven more by ideology than by objective analysis of which policies, programs, practices, and processes will produce the desired outcomes at the lowest cost. The mission of the RAND Corporation is to provide just this sort of objective analysis, and today's heated political environment presents a serious challenge to this mission. To help make sure that RAND's objective, nonpartisan research influences the policy debate, RAND must work to identify potentially controversial findings and take steps to ensure that they are not misinterpreted or distorted.--Back cover.
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Federalists Belief in Deliberation
Party Preference of American Voters
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0.5 1.0 Liberal-Conservative 110th Congress aligned analysis Bill Bishop Congress on Poole congressional districts conservative constituencies in congressional County Voting David Boren Democrat Lean Democrat demographic variables dimension DW-NOMINATE economic electorate factionalism Federalists Figure 11 figure shows geographic sorting George H. W. Bush Gerrymandering groups growth of polarization homogeneous Howard Rosenthal ID C 20 ideological individuals issues James Inhofe James Surowiecki Keith Poole legislation that matters Liberal-Conservative Lindsey Graham Measuring Polarization neutral Lean Republican Nivola and David Nolan McCarty NOMINATE score Norm Coleman number of landslide Obama parties have become parties have pulled Party Polarization party preferences percent personal communication Pew Research Center polarization index Polarized America political polarization Poole and Rosenthal's public policy RAND ranking of 110th Republican landslide counties Republican presidential vote Rick Warren Roger Sherman role roll call votes Senate members sorting of voters Southern Democrats switch parties trend U.S. Election U.S. presidential election voting behavior Washington