Elite Polarization and Political Engagement in California
Kevin A. Evans
Florida International University
University of Houston; University of California, Davis
March 25, 2010
Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper
Many observers of politics see the ugly business of governing and lament the rise of polarized politics at the national and state level. Scholars have looked deeply into the causes and existence of polarization, but have not given enough scholarly attention to the consequences. How does polarization influence the way that citizens engage politics? Using data from the California Field Poll we show that increased polarization stimulates political engagement in the form of bolstered voter registration and identification with the major political parties. These results lend support to the view in the literature that elite polarization spurs engagement rather than disengagement.
Keywords: polarization, political engagement, voter registration, party identification, California
Date posted: March 29, 2010 ; Last revised: December 2, 2013
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