Elite Polarization and Political Engagement in California

Kevin A. Evans

Florida International University

Elizabeth Simas

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

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Date posted: March 29, 2010 ; Last revised: December 2, 2013

Suggested Citation

Evans, Kevin A. and Simas, Elizabeth, Elite Polarization and Political Engagement in California (March 25, 2010). Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper . Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1581060

Contact Information

Kevin A. Evans (Contact Author)
Florida International University ( email )
11200 SW 8th St
Miami, FL 33199
United States
Elizabeth Simas
University of Houston ( email )
Houston, TX 77204
United States
University of California, Davis ( email )
One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
United States
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