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

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The Nationalization Of Congressional Elections

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Defining Ideas (Hoover Institution)
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Today, people vote for a party rather than a person. Is that a good thing? 

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The (Re)Nationalization Of Congressional Elections

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Hoover Institution Press
Wednesday, October 19, 2016

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.

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Independents: The Marginal Members Of An Electoral Coalition

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Hoover Institution Press
Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Currently, the party balance in the United States is nearly even, roughly one-third Democratic, one-third Republican, and one-third independent, taking turnout into account.

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The Temptation To Overreach

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Hoover Institution Press
Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Today’s parties succumb to the temptation to overreach when in control of an institution. By overreach I mean simply that they attempt to govern in a manner that alienates the marginal members of their electoral majority.

Political dialogue, Andrzej Dudzinski
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Party Sorting And Democratic Politics

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Hoover Institution Press
Wednesday, September 28, 2016

This essay is more qualitative than the two previous data-heavy essays. It considers the larger consequences of party sorting for the conduct of American politics.

US Political Parties
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The Political Parties Have Sorted

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Hoover Institution Press
Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Although the American public at large has not polarized, it is better sorted than a generation ago. Whereas the parties were once “big tents,” they are now ideologically more homogeneous: liberal Republicans and conservative Democrats have largely disappeared.

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The Myth Of Growing Polarization

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Defining Ideas
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Contrary to public perception, the American people are not segregating themselves into “ideological silos.” 

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Has The American Public Polarized?

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Hoover Institution Press
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

With the presidential campaigns well under way, talk of polarization once again fills the air. Although Americans think that polarization has increased, that is a misperception. By the standard definition of polarization—the middle loses to the extremes—there is no evidence of increasing polarization among the public at large.

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Making Sense Of The 2016 Election

by Morris P. Fiorina, David Brady, Douglas Rivers, Bill Whalenvia Stanford News
Monday, September 12, 2016

A few Stanford political experts are gathering in cyberspace to help people make sense of the 2016 election.

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An Era Of Tenuous Majorities: Historical Context

by Morris P. Fiorinavia Hoover Institution Press
Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The United States is currently experiencing an almost unprecedented period of electoral instability. This essay describes this important feature of contemporary politics and sets the stage for later essays that describe and attempt to explain current developments and trace their consequences for American government.