Elections and the Political Order

Elections and the Political Order

Elections and the Political Order

Elections and the Political Order

Excerpt

In many ways this book is a successor to The American Voter, in which we collaborated several years ago. Its focus, however, is quite different, although this new emphasis was foreshadowed by the earlier book. The American Voter, as its title suggests, "sought primarily to show the influences on individual voting behavior;" yet the final chapters shifted attention "from the voter to the full electorate and from individual choice to the collective decision."

This new emphasis is prominent in our more recent writings, many of which are collected here. The analyses we have undertaken since publication of The American Voter have frequently had more to do with aggregate properties of the electorate or with the party system than with the molecular voter. In this type of work, the data of interview surveys have not so much to explain individual behavior as to illuminate problems of a wider political order.

Since this emphasis is found in much of our recent work, we felt that it would be worthwhile to assemble a book organized around this theme. The papers collected here were not, however, written originally as chapters of a book, and the devices of ellipsis and redrafting, although liberally used, do not fully conceal these separate origins. If the collection constitutes a coherent whole, it does so because of the degree to which those joining in this program of research have held a set of interests and analytic ideas in common.

As usual our list of acknowledgments is a long one. We especially wish to take note of the contributions to this book of our foreign colleagues, Dr. Georges Dupeux, Professor of Modern History of the University of Bordeaux, Mr. Gudmund Iversen of the Department of Sociology of the University of Oslo, and Mr. Henry Valen of the Institute for Social Research of Oslo, who collaborated in the authorship of four of the ensuing chapters. Our associates at the Survey Research Center provided their usual fine support, in particular Dr. Charles F. Cannell and Dr. Morris Axelrod of the Center's Field Section, Dr. Leslie Kish and Miss Irene Hess of the Sampling Section, and Mrs. Doris Muehl Ginsburg of the Coding Section. Dr. Aage Clausen . . .

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