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Description - The Two Majorities by Byron E. Shafer

Why do Democratic political candidates avoid the one issue on which the general public is most in agreement with them? Why do Republicans consistently raise the one issue their advisors urge them to avoid? Why do voters so often exhibit patterns of policy preference vastly different from what analysts and strategists predict? And why do these same voters consistently cast ballots that ensure the continuation of "divided government?" This book attempts to resolve many of the seeming contradictions in the contemporary American political scene. Drawing on a large sample of all Americans conducted by the Gallup organization, it argues that the recent turbulence in American politics is in some ways superficial. Below the surface, it contends, the political preferences of the American people remain remarkably stable. The authors find that American public opinion is organized around two clusters of issues, both of which are favoured by a majority of voters: social welfare, social insurance and civil rights, which constitute an economic welfare factor (associated with Democrats); and cultural values, civil liberties and foreign relations, a cultural/national factor (associated with Republicans). They conclude that each party's best strategy for success is not to try to take popular positions on the whole range of issues, but to focus attention on the party's most successful cluster of issues. The failure of either party to do so explains why neither the Democrats nor the Republicans have so far been able to replace the recent period of political turmoil with a new period of political stability.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780801850196
ISBN-10: 0801850193
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publish Date: 1-Aug-1995
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Byron E. Shafer

John Anthony Maltese teaches in the Department of Political Scienceat the University of Georgia. His books include Spin Control: The White House Office of Communications and the Management of Presidential News.

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