A political geographic approach to understanding electoral variability among states in the U.S. federal system
Though local and regional politics are often ignored in political-behavior literature, analyses of these areas are fundamental to understanding the scope of political change in the regimes experiencing realignment and for which there are no survey data. With the unprecedented population movement and socioeconomic mobility of the twentieth century, political support has been reshuffled in many parts of the country. Yet at the dawn of the new century, these local and regional movements are rather poorly understood. Patchwork Nation examines the forces that account for pervasive political regionalism and the geographic shifts that continue to alter the nation's political landscape.
The authors focus on twelve states in particular, identifying regional differences in support for candidates or political parties and find that the electoral foundations for political regionalism differ from state to state. Thus, regionalism within states is not easily reducible to one or two population characteristics that are common to all states. The authors demonstrate the importance of a political geographic approach to American political behavior and challenge the tendency in the scholarly literature to ignore the impact and significance of local contexts.
James G. Gimpel is Professor of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, College Park.
Jason E. Schuknecht is a Research Analyst at Westat, Inc. in Rockville, Maryland.
James G. Gimpel is Professor of Government and Politics at the University of Maryland, College Park.
Jason E. Schuknecht is a Research Analyst at Westat in Rockville, Maryland.