november_5th_lecture_doc - Political Science 104 Intro to...

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Political Science 104 - Intro to American Government Lecture November 5, 2007 A Divided Nation? • Are political divisions and public opinion differences sharper than they have been? • Are we a 50-50 nation, with little common ground? Polarized? Unbridgeable gaps between Evangelicals and liberals? Conventional Wisdom Razor close elections Little common ground on many important issues (abortion, Iraq, etc.) Blue v Red states- regional fracturing Fiornia • Not so fast: what is the evidence for this kind of polarization? • Data on demographics, attitudes don't really show a culture war. Not always red v blue- alternative is that there's a lot of purple So What? Different distributions of public opinion can produce 50-50 splits • No dramatic differences between Red States and Blue on many issues What about Different Groups? • Nope, same thing; some differences. What About Abortion? • Generally considered one of the most divisive and polarizing issues in American politics little compromise, lot of tension • Fiorina: attitudes about abortion have remained stable for the last 30 years.
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