The Partisan Divide

April 30, 2004 • Volume 14, Issue 16
Are politics more polarized than ever?
By Alan Greenblatt

Introduction

Republicans celebrate the decision to halt the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election dispute between Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore.  (Getty Images)
Republicans celebrate the decision to halt the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election dispute between Texas Gov. George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore. (Getty Images)

If political ads sound unusually harsh this campaign season, it may be because the major parties are highlighting their differences in hopes of tipping an evenly divided electorate their way. Over the past couple of decades, elected officials and party leaders have become more openly partisan, with greater divisions between the parties across the entire range of political issues, including taxation and government spending, foreign policy and cultural issues. As the politicians present completely opposing views to the public, so-called swing voters are becoming an endangered species. Voters are either becoming more closely aligned with one party or the other, or dropping out of the political process altogether. If this year's presidential race remains as close as polls indicate, it will be the second squeaker in a row — and a further indication that there is no clear majority of political opinion in a divided country.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Political Parties
Oct. 13, 2017  Future of the Democratic Party
Sep. 09, 2016  Populism and Party Politics
Nov. 14, 2014  Nonprofit Groups and Partisan Politics
Oct. 24, 2014  Future of the GOP
Feb. 28, 2014  Polarization in America
Mar. 19, 2010  Tea Party Movement Updated
Mar. 20, 2009  Future of the GOP
Jun. 08, 2007  Democrats in Congress
Apr. 30, 2004  The Partisan Divide
Dec. 22, 1995  Third-Party Prospects
Jan. 11, 1985  Post-1984 Political Landscape
Nov. 09, 1984  Democratic Revival in South America
Sep. 14, 1984  Election 1984
Dec. 19, 1980  Future of the Democratic Party
Sep. 29, 1978  New Right in American Politics
Jan. 04, 1974  Future of Conservatism
May 03, 1972  The New Populism
Feb. 02, 1956  Foreign Policy in Political Campaigns
Dec. 22, 1954  Divided Government
Aug. 04, 1952  Two-Party System
Jun. 06, 1952  Party Platforms
Sep. 05, 1951  Southern Democrats and the 1952 Election
Oct. 06, 1948  Voting in 1948
Aug. 27, 1948  Republicans and Foreign Policy
Jul. 16, 1947  Third Party Movements
Aug. 22, 1940  Political Realignments
Jan. 13, 1938  The G. O. P. and the Solid South
Jul. 22, 1936  Third Party Movements in American Politics
Jul. 07, 1936  The Monopoly Issue in Party Politics
Nov. 12, 1935  Party Platforms and the 1936 Campaign
May 18, 1934  Political Trends and New Party Movements
Jan. 13, 1932  National Party Platforms, 1832–1932
May 16, 1928  Third Party Movements
Jan. 21, 1928  Major Party Platforms 1924–1928
Nov. 14, 1924  The Election and the Third Party
Sep. 05, 1924  Party Claims and Past Political Complexion of the States
Jun. 25, 1924  Third Party Platforms
Jun. 18, 1924  Thrid Parties: Past and Prospective
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Party Politics
Party Politics