Where did the votes go? Reassessing American party realignments via vote transfers between major parties from 1860 to 2008

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Hawley, G. ; Sagarzazu, I. (2012)

Political scientists have long debated theories of electoral party realignments. In this paper, we apply ecological inference methods to statistically analyze the transfer of votes within counties in US presidential elections since 1860. Through this analysis we are able to identify the major periods of party realignment in US history and the counties where these shifts took place. As a result, we are able to provide new insights into American electoral history, and provide strong evidence that the 2008 presidential election did not represent a realigning election as the phrase is generally understood.
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