The Direct Primary and Voting Behavior in U.S. General Elections

Authored by: Shigeo Hirano , James M. Snyder

Routledge Handbook of Primary Elections

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138684089
eBook ISBN: 9781315544182
Adobe ISBN:


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Conventional wisdom in the political science literature is that U.S. elections became much less party-centered around the 1960s. Aldrich and Niemi (1990) refer to the post-1960s era as the “sixth party system.” 2 In summarizing the studies on this transformation in voting behavior, Aldrich (1995, 253) writes:

Together these studies show that there was an important shift in elections to all national offices in or about 1960, demonstrating that voters respond to candidates far more than previously. Voting became candidate-centered, and so parties as mechanisms for understanding candidates, campaigns, and elections became less relevant.

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