Morris P. Fiorina

Senior Fellow
Awards and Honors:
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Political and Social Science
National Academy of Sciences

Morris P. Fiorina is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Wendt Family Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. His current research focuses on elections and public opinion with particular attention to the quality of representation: how well the positions of elected officials reflect the preferences of the public.

During the course of his forty-year career Fiorina has published numerous articles and books on national politics including Congress—Keystone of the Washington Establishment (Yale University Press, 1977), Retrospective Voting in American National Elections (Yale University Press, 1981), and Divided Government (Allyn & Bacon, 1992). The Personal Vote: Constituency Service and Electoral Independence, coauthored with Bruce Cain and John Ferejohn (Harvard University Press, 1987), won the 1988 Richard F. Fenno Prize. He is also coeditor of Continuity and Change in House Elections (Stanford University Press and Hoover Press, 2000). The third edition of his 2004 groundbreaking book Culture War: The Myth of a Polarized America (with Samuel J. Abrams and Jeremy C. Pope) was published in 2011. He coedited Can We Talk? The Rise of Rude, Nasty, Stubborn Politics (Pearson, 2013). Most recently he published Unstable Majorities (Hoover, 2017). 

Fiorina has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. He has served on the editorial boards of more than a dozen journals on political science, law, political economy, and public policy. From 1986 to 1990 he was chairman of the Board of Overseers of the American National Election Studies.

Fiorina received his BA degree from Allegheny College and his MA and PhD from the University of Rochester. He lives in Portola Valley, California.

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Recent Commentary

In the News

The Magazines Publishing One Another’s Work

quoting Morris P. Fiorinavia The New York Times
Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Polarization is everywhere. But it’s being challenged in Poland by a handful of magazines across the political spectrum. They’ve begun sharing articles, to show readers a variety of viewpoints.

Analysis and Commentary

Do Partisans Hate Each Other More Than Ever?

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Reason
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

For all the florid journalistic commentary about voter polarization, extensive empirical studies have shown that the American electorate is no more polarized today than it was in the 1970s. What's changed is that the parties have sorted: Democrats have become more homogeneously liberal, Republicans more homogeneously conservative.

Perspectives on PolicyFeatured

Unstable Majorities

by Morris P. Fiorinavia PolicyEd
Monday, October 22, 2018

In the aftermath of the most contentious Supreme Court nomination in modern history, many people are left with the belief that America is more polarized than ever. But the truth is more complicated. Watch Hoover Senior Fellow Morris Fiorina explain why.

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Are We On The Verge Of Civil War? Some Words Of Reassurance

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Defining Ideas
Friday, September 28, 2018

Recent articles here and here by Victor Davis Hanson—my colleague at the Hoover Institution--paint a frightening picture of the United States as a country teetering on the edge of civil war.  In addition to being an exceptional prose stylist, Hanson is an active combatant in today’s political wars, so his impressions are understandable. As a data guy and a noncombatant, however, I am happy to report that the available data provide grounds for feeling much more sanguine about the state of our country.  


Polarization Is Not the Problem

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Stanford Magazine
Friday, May 11, 2018

Since the early years of this century, political commentators have told the American public that the country is coming apart. Although survey data indicates that majorities of the American public believe such claims, a sober look at the data reveals a more complex picture.

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Is America Ripe For Tyranny?

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Despite the alarmist commentary, America isn’t doomed under this president. 

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The Revolt Of The Masses

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Defining Ideas
Thursday, January 11, 2018

The Democrats are not only losing white working class men—the white middle class is slipping away as well. 


The Meaning Of Trump's Election Has Been Exaggerated

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Real Clear Politics
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The consequences of the 2016 elections are assuredly significant, but the causes of the surprising outcome have been widely exaggerated. Post-election commentary includes words such as “autocracy,” “civil war,” “tyranny,” “fascism,” and “doom.” Fortunately for our country, the use of such words reflects a misperception of the American electorate and how it voted in 2016. This erroneous conception stems from a common tendency to assume that a consequential election only results when a major segment of the electorate intends those consequences.

Unstable Majorities

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Books by Hoover Fellows
Friday, December 15, 2017

The American public is not as polarized as pundits say. In Unstable Majorities Morris P. Fiorina confronts one of the most commonly held assumptions in contemporary American politics: which is that voters are now more polarized than ever. Bringing research and historical context to his discussion of the American electorate and its voting patterns, he corrects misconceptions about polarization, voter behavior, and political parties, arguing that party sorting—not polarization—is the key to understanding our current political turbulence.

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The 2016 Presidential Election—Identities, Class, And Culture

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Essays on Contemporary American Politics
Thursday, June 22, 2017

In the aggregate the 2016 election returns were similar to those in 2012, but the consequences of the voting were dramatically different. This contrast highlights the fact that in a majoritarian system like that in the United States minor changes in the vote can produce major changes in government control and the public policies that result. Looking ahead, perhaps the most significant feature of the 2016 voting was the reappearance of anti-establishment “populist” sentiments that are roiling the politics of other advanced democracies.