The (Re)Nationalization Of Congressional Elections

Wednesday, October 19, 2016
Image credit: 
Everett Collection, Shutterstock

 

In the second half of the twentieth century, elections for the presidency, House, and Senate exhibited a great deal of independence, but the outcomes of congressional elections today are much more closely aligned with those of presidential elections. Split-ticket voting and the incumbency advantage have declined and party candidates in different arenas increasingly tend to win and lose together. Some analysts interpret these developments as evidence that voters have become increasingly set in their partisan ways, but an alternative explanation is that since the parties have sorted, each party’s candidates now look alike, so voters have much less reason to split their tickets. Few voters have a liberal Republican or a conservative Democrat to vote for today.

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