, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 91-113

A new context for presidential politics: The Reagan legacy

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Abstract

This analysis of electoral politics in the U.S. during the Reagan years includes discussion of what hasnot happened, with particular attention to the fact that the American electorate hasnot become more conservative in recent years; the fact that the younger members of the electorate havenot led the national swing away from the Democrats in favor of the Republicans; and the fact that Republican political elites havenot become more representative of the issue preferences of the national electorate. The study also notes some of the generally recognized changes in political life, including the recent sharp decline of the Democrats' margin, or plurality, among parly identifiers and the new dominance of the right wing among Republican party elites. Finally, the study introduces some previously unexamined evidence concerning the nature of various changes relating to partisanship, issue voting, and political leadership that have implications not anticipated either by conventional or unconventional wisdom.