Books

 

Why Parties?

Since its first appearance fifteen years ago, Why Parties? has become essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the nature of American political parties. In the interim, the party system has undergone some radical changes. In this landmark book, now rewritten for the new millennium, John H. Aldrich goes beyond the clamor of arguments over whether American political parties are in resurgence or decline and undertakes a wholesale reexamination of the foundations of the American party system.

Surveying critical episodes in the development of American political parties—from their formation in the 1790s to the Civil War—Aldrich shows how they serve to combat three fundamental problems of democracy: how to regulate the number of people seeking public office, how to mobilize voters, and how to achieve and maintain the majorities needed to accomplish goals once in office. Aldrich brings this innovative account up to the present by looking at the profound changes in the character of political parties since World War II, especially in light of ongoing contemporary transformations, including the rise of the Republican Party in the South, and what those changes accomplish, such as the Obama Health Care plan. Finally, Why Parties? A Second Lookoffers a fuller consideration of party systems in general, especially the two-party system in the United States, and explains why this system is necessary for effective democracy.

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Change and Continuity in the 2008 and 2010 Elections

In this era of electoral volatility and deep public divide, the mood and results of the 2008 and 2010 elections could not have been more different. How do the lessons drawn from the 2008 elections apply to 2010? In careful analysis of both contests, the authors examine the midterm election results and then turn to their analysis of the National Election Study surveys, while making sure to incorporate and discuss the most recent literature. Updates to this edition include coverage of:

  • the difference between the 2008 and 2010 electorates;
  • the dominance of the economy in both races and their outcomes;
  • the impact of unified party government on nationalizing elections;
  • the virtual elimination of cross-pressured congressional districts;
  • the magnitude of campaign spending and its consequences;
  • the role of the Tea Party movement; and
  • the outlook for the 2012 elections and likely presidential candidates.

As with all books in the Change and Continuity series, the authors present election data in a straightforward, accessible manner with an array of thorough, yet student-friendly graphics.

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Positive Changes in Political Science: The Legacy of Richard D. McKelvey’s Most Influential Writings

Richard D. McKelvey was a pioneer in the use of mathematical modeling for understanding the nature of political choices. Positive Changes in Political Science brings together his most important articles, accompanied by original essays from contemporary political scientists, some his colleagues or students, who reflect upon his contributions, their continuing relevance today, and how they are still shaping research for the future.

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Improving Public Opinion Surveys:
Interdisciplinary Innovation and the American National Election Studies

The American National Election Studies (ANES) is the premier social science survey program devoted to voting and elections. Conducted during the presidential election years and midterm Congressional elections, the survey is based on interviews with voters and delves into why they make certain choices. In this edited volume, John Aldrich and Kathleen McGraw bring together a group of leading social scientists that developed and tested new measures that might be added to the ANES, with the ultimate goal of extending scholarly understanding of the causes and consequences of electoral outcomes.

The contributors–leading experts from several disciplines in the fields of polling, public opinion, survey methodology, and elections and voting behavior–illuminate some of the most important questions and results from the ANES 2006 pilot study. They look at such varied topics as self-monitoring in the expression of political attitudes, personal values and political orientations, alternate measures of political trust, perceptions of similarity and disagreement in partisan groups, measuring ambivalence about government, gender preferences in politics, and the political issues of abortion, crime, and taxes.

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