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


The Democratic Distemper

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Governance In An Emerging New World
Tuesday, May 14, 2019

I have been tasked to write on governance in the contemporary era, a time when many knowledgeable commentators believe that democracies across the western world are performing poorly in the face of new challenges arising from demographic and technological change. Commentary on the state of contemporary liberal democracy clearly tends toward the pessimistic: The vague and persistent feeling that democracies have become ungovernable has been growing steadily in western Europe. The case of Britain has become the most dramatic example of this malaise…


Morris Fiorina: The American Culture War Myth

interview with Morris P. Fiorinavia Divided We Fall
Saturday, May 11, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Morris Fiorina discusses why he believes that American is not polarized.


Whom The Democrats Nominate In 2020 Matters -- A Lot

by David Brady, Morris P. Fiorina, Douglas Riversvia Real Clear Politics
Thursday, May 2, 2019

Conventional wisdom about presidential campaign strategy changed around the turn of the current century. Traditionally, candidates were advised to move to the center in the general election campaign after catering to the party bases in the primaries. Not anymore. George W. Bush’s two presidential campaigns exemplify the shift.


Morris Fiorina, "Polarization Is Not The Problem"

interview with Morris P. Fiorinavia Sanity
Thursday, April 25, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Morris Fiorina debunks political myths, explains the difference between sorting and polarization, and offers a reassuring perspective on today's political climate.

Policy BriefsFeatured

Morris Fiorina On Why Political Parties Have Polarized

by Morris P. Fiorinavia PolicyEd
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

As a result of ideological sorting, political parties are far more polarized today than they were before. Democrats have shed their conservative wing and Republicans have shed their liberal wing. Majority control of Congress continues to flip back and forth because each party is polarized, responds to their political base, and alienates moderates and independents in the middle.

In the News

Palo Alto Woman Sparks National Furor After Berating A Man Wearing A Maga Hat In Starbucks

quoting Morris P. Fiorinavia Mercury News
Thursday, April 4, 2019
A Palo Alto woman’s tirade against a 74-year-old man wearing a Make America Great Again hat inside a Starbucks has sparked a social media firestorm and national debate about whether her actions reflect this country’s political divide or simply epitomize out-of-bounds extremism.
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.