Search This Blog

Saturday, February 12, 2011


In our chapter on political parties, we discuss the concept of party identification. In The California Journal of Politics and Policy, Edward L. Lascher, Jr. and John L. Korey explode some myths about independent voters in California:
Most California independents lean toward one or the other major political and this has changed little over time. Pure independents amount to only about one in 10 voters. Independents leaning toward one of the major parties tend to have voting preferences similar to those who at least weakly identify with the Republicans or Democrats. Partisanship dominates vote choices. With respect to civic engagement, pure independents are mainly distinguished by their lower interest in politics, weaker commitment to voting in upcoming elections, and lower levels of knowledge about basic facts of government and politics.

We do not wish to argue that partisanship in the mass public has been static. Indeed, our prior research emphasized a pronounced shift toward the Democrats among California adults during the 1990s and analyzed some of the reasons for this major change. We also find evidence in California for the ideological sorting emphasized by other scholars examining the United States as a whole. That is, liberals in the state are more consistently Democrats and conservatives more consistently Republicans than was the case in the past. ... So it is not the case that parties at the mass level are “forever the same” in the Golden State. However, what does seem inaccurate is the notion that Californians are losing their party moorings.