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Green, Palmquist, and Schickler: Macropartisanship

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Green, Palmquist, and Schickler. 1998. Macropartisanship: A replication and critique. APSR 92: 883-900.

The Debate

This is a response to MacKuen et al. (1989); see their reply in Erikson et al. (1998). Although MacKuen et al. think they proved that partisanship varies in response to short-term forces, Green et al. counter that partisanship is, in fact, a strong psychological attachment (at the micro level) and a generally stable phenomenon (at the macrolevel).

Main Argument

MacKuen et al presented persuasive evidence that partisan realignment is an ongoing process, affected by shifts in consumer sentiment and presidential approval. Replicating their work with additional data, Green et al. find results in the same direction but with half the magnitude. Thus, although macropartisanship does fluctuate, short-term effects (consumer sentiment and presidential approval) have only half the effect that the earlier study suggested. Given that these fluctuations are smaller, and that they move back and forth, Green et al. conclude that the earlier view of realignment remains persuasive: partisanship is generally stable, except for occasional significant realignments.

Figure 1 presents an update of MacKuen et al's Figure 1.

Methodological Argument

MacKuen et al had included dummies for each president; by removing these dummies, Green et al found a weaker relationship. (Erikson et al's response takes aim at this point).