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Change and Continuity in the 2012 and 2014 Elections

Change and Continuity in the 2012 and 2014 Elections

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488 pages | CQ Press
Since its first edition in 1982, Change and Continuity has been known for offering the best analysis and explanation of voting behavior in recent elections and setting those results in the context of larger trends and patterns in elections studies. Year after year, the top-notch author team meticulously and accessibly explains and displays the National Election Studies data and analyzes its impact while making use of the most recent scholarship. This edition covers the 2012 presidential and congressional elections and includes an all-new chapter on the 2014 mid-term election. It examines the social forces, party loyalties, and prominent issues that affected voting behavior, and offers conclusions about what the results mean for the future of American politics.
Chapter 1: The Nomination Struggle
Who Ran

The Rules of the Nomination System

The Dynamics of Multicandidate Campaigns

Chapter 2: The General Election Campaign
The Strategic Context and Candidates’ Choices

Political Context, Overall Strategy, and Opening Moves

From the Conventions to the Debates

The End Game and the Struggle over Turnout

Did the Campaign Make a Difference?

Chapter 3: The Election Results
The Election Rules

The Pattern of Results

State-by-State Results

Electoral Change in the Postwar South

The Electoral Vote Balance

Chapter 4: Who Voted?
Voter Turnout, 1789–1916

Voter Turnout, 1920–2012

Voter Turnout among Social Groups

Changes in Turnout after 1960

Election-Specific Factors

Does Low Voter Turnout Matter?

Chapter 5: Social Forces and the Vote
How Social Groups Voted in 2012

How Social Groups Voted during the Postwar Years

Why the New Deal Coalition Broke Down

Chapter 6: Candidates, Issues, and the Vote
Attitudes toward the Candidates

Prospective Evaluations

Issue Positions and Perceptions

Issue Voting Criteria

Apparent Issue Voting in 2012


Chapter 7: Presidential Performance and Candidate Choice
What Is Retrospective Voting?

Evaluations of Government Performance on Important Problems

Economic Evaluations and the Vote for the Incumbent

Foreign Policy Evaluations and the Vote for the Incumbent

Evaluations of the Incumbent

The Impact of Retrospective Evaluations


Chapter 8: Party Loyalties, Policy Preferences, and the Vote
Party Identification: The Original View

Party Identification: An Alternative View

Party Identification in the Electorate

Hispanic Partisanship in 2008 and 2012

Party Identification and the Vote

Policy Preferences and Performance Evaluations


Chapter 9: Candidates and Outcomes in 2012
Election Outcomes in 2012

Candidates’ Resources and Election Outcomes

The 2012 Elections: The Impact on Congress

The 2014 Elections and Beyond

Chapter 10: The Congressional Electorate in 2012
Social Forces and the Congressional Vote

Issues and the Congressional Vote

Party Identification and the Congressional Vote

Incumbency and the Congressional Vote

The Congressional Vote as Referendum

Presidential Coattails and the Congressional Vote


Chapter 11: The 2014 Congressional Elections
The Pattern of Outcomes

Assessing Victory and Explaining the Results

National and Local Influences in Congressional Elections

The 2014 Elections: The Impact on Congress

The 2016 Elections and Beyond

Chapter 12: The 2012 and 2014 Elections and the Future of American Politics
Are Midterm Elections Predictive?

Prospects for the Democrats

Prospects for the Republicans

Chapter 13: The Dynamics of American Elections
The Great Continuities: The Electoral System and the Party System

The Great Change: Depolarization and the Return of Partisan Polarization

Change and Continuity in Turnout

Continuities in Electoral Partisanship

Changes in the Partisan Electorate

Change and Continuity in the U.S. Congress


“No course on campaigns, elections, or voting is complete without the recent installment in the Change and Continuity series. The latest update demystifies the complexities of the important 2012 elections and the pivotal 2014 midterms in a penetrating and comprehensive fashion and situates the cycle in historical context masterfully. If there is only one book students interested in national elections read, it should be this one.”

Costas Panagopoulos
Fordham University

“A new edition of Change and Continuity is like manna from heaven for students of American national elections. The latest in the series skillfully places the 2012 election in historical context while providing an intelligent and judicious review of scholarly debates about participation, partisanship, and issue voting. The new analysis of the dramatic 2014 midterms and their implications for the future is especially helpful. A gem for teaching.”

Jack Citrin
University of California, Berkeley

“Once again, Paul Abramson and his team have provided us with a lucid and detailed account of the most recent national elections. Placing this account within the broader conceptual context of U.S. voting behavior, they provide the reader with a thorough, general background in U.S. election studies valuable for use in several different courses. Most importantly for me, this text, as always, lays out a methodological blueprint for those students wishing to understand how we go about studying voting behavior and those who wish to analyze election data themselves.

Peter Galderisi
University of California, San Diego

I use Change and Continuity in my classes because students read it. It is accessible, current, and informative. The chapters provide a value-added use in the classroom because it is not journalistic. Rather the chapters analyze current subjects through the lens of political science, providing the intellectual framework that will help readers understand the politics that they are seeing on TV or reading about in newspapers.

Wayne Steger
DePaul University

After each election, I look forward to the new edition of Change and Continuity. I know that the new edition will put the current election in the appropriate context. I know that my students will have a greater appreciation of the factors that underlie electoral behavior. Change and Continuity is both intellectually rigorous and accessible. I cant imagine teaching the elections class without using this book.

Brad Lockerbie
East Carolina University

"No text matches Change and Continuity in providing an all-inclusive interpretation of election outcomes and for placing the results of individual elections in historical context. The authors use national survey data to disentangle the contributions of issues, candidates, parties, and political and economic conditions to voters decisions. Their long-term perspective distinguishes the routine from the idiosyncratic and identifies secular trends and changes in voting behavior. Ill keep assigning the book in my classes as long as they keep writing it." 

Dennis Chong
University of Southern California

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Paul R. Abramson

Paul R. Abramson is professor of political science at Michigan State University. He is coauthor of ValueChange in Global Perspective (1995) and author of Political Attitudes in America (1983), The Political Socialization of Black Americans (1977), and Generational Change in American Politics (1975).  More About Author

John H. Aldrich

John H. Aldrich is Pfizer-Pratt University Professor of Political Science at Duke University. He is author of Why Parties: A Second Look (2011), coeditor of Positive Changes in Political Science (2007), and author of Why Parties (1995) and Before the Convention (1980). He is a past president of both the Southern Political Science Association and the Midwest Political Science Association and is serving as president of the American Political Science Association. In 2001 he was elected a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. More About Author

Brad T. Gomez

Brad T. Gomez is associate professor of political science at Florida State University. His research interests focus on voting behavior and public opinion with a particular interest in how citizens attribute responsibility for socio-political events. His published work appears in the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, and other journals and edited volumes. More About Author

David W. Rohde

David W. Rohde is Ernestine Friedl Professor of Political Science and director of the Political Institutions and Public Choice Program at Duke University. He is coeditor of Why Not Parties? (2008), author of Parties and Leaders in the Postreform House (1991), coeditor of Home Style and Washington Work (1989), and coauthor of Supreme Court Decision Making (1976). More About Author

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