The Breakdown of the New Deal Coalition, the Destruction of the

Lecture #18
Public Opinion and the Parties: The
Breakdown of the New Deal Coalition,
The Rise of the Gender Gap, and the
(Uncertain) Future of the Party System
I. Introduction
A. The centrality of parties
B. Parties as group alignments
C. Stereotypes in social science
D. Dominant coalitions
E. The current situation: No dominant
coalition, highly competitive elections
II. The New Deal Coalition--have-nots
versus haves (1932-1968 or 1932-1980 or
A. Democratic coalition based on using
government to help people hurt by Great
B. Diverse coalition!
1. Southerners, northern factory workers,
farmers, Catholics, Jews, Irish, Blacks,
C. Class-based: poor and middle-class
versus rich
D. Dominant (except in presidential
elections) between 1932 and 1994
1. Held House for 60 of 62 years
2. Held Senate for 52 of 62 years
3. Held majority of state and local
4. Held large lead in party
III. Breakdown of the New Deal Coalition
A. Causes (See Carmines & Stimpson,
Black & Black)
1. Race
2. Cultural issues
a. Crime
b. Abortion
c. Gay and Lesbian rights
3. Affluence?
IV. The Current Line-Up: Democrats
A. Shards of the New Deal Coalition
(generally supportive but not reliable)
1. poor people
2. urbanites
3. union members
B. Reliable support: Blacks and Jews
C. New groups
1. Government workers
2. Highly educated (graduate degrees)
3. Latinos?
4. Women?
a. Gender gap caused by movement of
men to Republican Party
b. Gender gap mostly among
unmarried white women
c. Gender gap unrelated to "women's
issues" such as abortion
d. Gender gap related to
welfare/government support
issues & views about use of
violence in international relations
e. Are women less individualistic?
(Because of social position?)
f. Why did Bush do so well among
women? See Kaufmann!
V. The Current Line-Up: Republicans
A. The old coalition
1. Business
2. Managers
3. Whites!
4. Protestants
B. New Additions
1. Southerners
2. Evangelical Christians/cultural
3. White Men!
VI. A Complex Situation
A. "Post-materialism"--emergence of
cultural/environmental/quality of life
issues across affluent democracies
beginning in 1960s
B. Conventional wisdom: Class basis of
parties declining among affluent
democracies--but evidence suggests not
in U.S.
1. New data suggest class-based
voting has been rising since 1950s!
2. Both cultural and class voting on
the rise
3. Regionalism seems to be
declining—southern conservatives,
like northern conservatives, vote
Republican (and northeast liberals
vote Democrat)
C. The problem of two-dimensional
politics in a two-party system.
D. A possible third dimension:
E. Polarization of parties—cultural and
social welfare conservatives now more
aligned with Republican Party, liberals
with Democratic Party