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


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 Hoover Institution Press
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 Hoover Institution Press
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.

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Making Sense Of Trump's Win

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Thursday, May 4, 2017

It's clear that voters supported the Republican despite, not because of, his incendiary positions. 

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The 2016 Presidential Election—An Abundance Of Controversies

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Hoover Institution Press
Tuesday, April 18, 2017

As the polls universally predicted, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. But contrary to universally held expectations, Donald Trump shocked the political world by breaching the Democrats “blue wall” and winning a majority of the Electoral College.

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A Historical Perspective

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Hoover Institution Press
Wednesday, November 2, 2016

In the first essay of this series I pointed out that contemporary electoral instability resembles the electorally chaotic late nineteenth century period after the return of the Confederate states to the Union.

American Flags
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Is The US Experience Exceptional?

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Hoover Institution Press
Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Research by European scholars clearly answers yes. Their studies paint a picture that is the mirror image of that in the United States. The political class in European democracies is depolarizing and/or de-sorting.