, Volume 14, Issue 1, pp 45-65

New deal issues and the American electorate, 1952–1988

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Abstract

As each presidential election passes into the history books, debate renews over the status of the New Deal Party System. This article addresses part of that debate by examining changes in the electorate's assessment of New Deal issues. Despite the vast literature on realignment, there have been few efforts to see whether issues associated with the New Deal still shape the political attitudes of the American electorate. Using the NES's openended like/dislike questions on parties and candidates from 1952 to 1988, I show that New Deal issues remain central to the partisan attitudes of the public. These findings show that the agenda of the New Deal remains an integral part of how the American public thinks about their candidates and parties. There, of course, has been much change over the last four decades, but these results suggest, in general, that at least parts of the New Deal Party System remain intact.