Demographic Gaps in American Political Behavior


Patrick Fisher

First Edition • March 11, 2014 • 256 pages


Print ISBN: 9780813345963 • $34.00 USD$43.99 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780813345970 • $22.99 USD$22.99 CAN

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Demographic Gaps in American Political Behavior examines the political behavior of various groups in the United States in an effort to demonstrate how demographic backgrounds and socialization affect political behavior. Media coverage has disproportionately focused on the red state versus blue state divide, leaving the impression that American political behavior is determined solely by place of residence. This, however, ignores the numerous other political divides that exist in the United States today. In order to better conceptualize the landscape of American political behavior, Patrick Fisher analyzes the political gaps in six different demographics—income, religion, gender, race, age, and geography—and examines the effect these political gaps have on public opinion, policy, and party positioning. Written in an accessible fashion, Demographic Gaps in American Political Behavior uses contemporary examples and data from the 2008 and 2012 elections to help readers understand how and why demographic background has the potential to greatly influence political opinions and behavior.


Patrick Fisher is associate professor of political science at Seton Hall University. His teaching and research interests include Congress, the presidency, the budget process, public policy, and American political behavior. He is the author of two books: The Politics of Taxing and Spending and Congressional Budgeting: A Representational Perspective. Dr. Fisher is also the author of numerous journal articles, including those in the Social Science Journal, Society, Publius, Party Politics, American Review of Politics, White House Studies, Politics and Policy and The Review of Policy Research.

Preface
Illustrations

Chapter 1: Introduction to Gapology
The Concept of “Gapology”
The United States in Red and Blue
A Culture War?
The Gapology of American Politics

Chapter 2: The Income Gap
Income and American Political Behavior
The Income Gap in the 2008 and 2012 Elections
The Education Gap
The Significance of the Income Gap

Chapter 3: The Religion Gap
Religion and American Political Behavior
The Religion Gap in the 2008 and 2012 Elections
Religion and Public Policy Preferences
Religion and the Cultural Divide
The Changing Dynamic of the Religion Gap
The Significance of the Religion Gap

Chapter 4: The Gender Gap
Gender and American Political Behavior
The Gender Gap in the 2008 and 2012 Elections
Gender and Public Policy Preferences
The Marriage Gap
The Significance of the Gender Gap

Chapter 5: The Race Gap
Race and American Political Behavior
The Race Gap in the 2008 and 2012 Elections
Race and Public Policy Preferences
The Significance of the Race Gap

Chapter 6: The Age Gap
Age and American Political Behavior
The Age Gap in the 2008 and 2012 Elections
Age and Public Policy Preferences
The Significance of the Age Gap

Chapter 7: The Geography Gap
Geography and American Political Behavior
Geography and Public Policy Preferences
The Significance of the Geography Gap

Chapter 8: The Implications of Gapology
The Gaps and Vote Choices
The Gaps and Public Policy Preferences
The Significance of Gapology

Appendix: Exit Polls, 1980-2012
Discussion Questions
Index

“Patrick Fisher’s excellent adventure into political demography reveals to student and professional readers what highly-paid consultants have long understood: group differences drive voting behavior. Fisher expands on the standard focus of income, race/ethnicity, and gender with chapters on religion, region and, especially, age. Generational voting differences, Fisher points out, were decisive in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, and this growing gap could shape politics and policy in coming decades.”
—Frederick R. Lynch, author of One Nation Under AARP

Demographic Gaps in American Political Behavior presents the major cleavages in contemporary American politics, explains why they are there, how they have evolved over time, and why they are important. It is an excellent piece of scholarship that appeals to students at all levels of sophistication.”
—John E. McNulty, SUNY Cortland and Binghamton University

Demographic Gaps in American Political Behavior provides a fresh approach to studying American politics. Demography is a fundamental feature of the American political universe and this text stands out for focusing specifically on the major characteristics that distinguish American voters, and the effect voters have on public opinion, electoral preferences, and party positioning.”
—Seth McKee, Texas Tech University

“Patrick Fisher does a wonderful job of examining many of the most critical demographic and socioeconomic splits among voters today. Combining original analysis and excellent sourcing, Demographic Gaps in American Political Behavior should be on the bookshelf of anyone interested in modern voting behaviors.”
—Kevin Pirch, Eastern Washington University

“Politicos love the truism ‘demography is destiny.’ Anyone interested in learning what that phrase really means, for America’s growing demographic divides, should read this book.”
—Whitt Kilburn, Grand Valley State University

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