What's the matter with the Republican Party?: factionalism in party primaries, 1976-2000 Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Miller, Patrick Ryan.
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science
  • Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas argues that social issues have become more important to lower income voters than economic issues, leading to a greater probability for them to vote against their own economic interests by voting for conservative candidates. This paper takes his much disputed theory and applies it to the Republican primary elections rather than general elections. Scholars have documented the presence of a conservative Republican wing associated with the religious right and a more moderate wing which emphasizes social issues less and distances itself from the religious right. My analysis connects this elite level dynamic to mass political behavior through an examination of county level election returns in presidential primaries from 1976 through 2000. When candidates from the two wings engage in a competitive national primary a pattern emerges that shows different demographic sources of support for the two factions.
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  • Rabinowitz, George
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