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Political Independence in America, Part I: On Being an Independent Partisan Supporter

Abstract

With the decline in popular attachment to the two major parties in the United States since the mid-1960s, collective political independence has risen. Using new survey questions introduced in 1980, this article employs alternative measures of independence to reassess the phenomenon of independence in America. These new measures give us fresh insights beyond what we had using only the traditional measures. One casualty of this new approach is the portrait of the Independent given by The American Voter. This portrait appears seriously misleading, given that it is those who deny being either partisan or Independent who fit that portrait – not Independents per se. And the most politically involved voters turn out to be Independent Partisan Supporters; not simple partisans.

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Anthony King , ‘Whatever is Happening to the British Party System?PS, 15 (1982), 1017.

Ivor Crewe , Bo Särlvik and James Alt , ‘Partisan Dealignment in Britain 1964–1974’, British Journal of Political Science, 7 (1977), 129–90.

Jack Dennis , ‘Support for the Party System by the Mass Public’, American Political Science Review, 60 (1966), 600–15

A. Lawrence Lowell , ‘Oscillations in Politics’, Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 12 (1898), 6997.

Angus Campbell and Warren E. Miller , ‘The Motivational Basis of Straight and Split Ticket Voting’, American Political Science Review, 51 (1957), 293312

V. O. Key Jr., The Responsible Electorate (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966).

Philip E. Converse , ‘Information Flow and the Stability of Partisan Attitudes’, Public Opinion Quarterly, 26 (1962), 578–99

David C. Valentine and John R. Van Wingen , ‘Partisanship, Independence, and the Partisan Identification Question’, American Politics Quarterly, 8 (1980), 165–86

Hugh LeBlanc and Mary Beth Merrin , ‘Independents, Issue Partisanship and the Decline of Party’, American Politics Quarterly, 7 (1979), 240–54

Herbert Weisberg , ‘Party Identification: A Multidimensional Conceptualization’, Political Behavior, 2 (1980), 3360.

Morris P. Fiorina , ‘An Outline for a Model of Party Choice’, American Journal of Political Science, 21 (1977), 601–25

David RePass , ‘Issue Salience and Party Choice’, American Political Science Review, 65 (1971), 389400, at p. 398.

William R. Klecka , Discriminant Analysis (Beverly Hills: Sage, 1980).

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British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
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