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Post-Materialism: Its Impact on Presidential Election Year Issues, 1972-2000
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ABSTRACT This thesis examines the measurable effects of changing cultural values on American presidential election year issues from 1972 to 2000. Topics discussed: the long-term shift in cultural values and their impact on political parties, party support, and political priorities. There is congruence between the content of the two major political party platforms from 1972-2000 and the cultural priorities of party supporters as defined by their presidential vote. This relationship also holds true for the 'most significant issue facing the nation' variable in the National Election Studies and presidential vote choice. These results are reproduced in a completely different data set of active political participants (follow the news closely, participate in political campaigns, vote consistently) assembled by Sydney Verba. Both political parties must contend with the tensions that arise from differing cultural priorities of their supporters. This applies both within the parties as they must assemble winning electoral coalitions and between the parties which have taken on the cultural and political priorities of their strongest supporters. As the cultural priorities of major political party supporters shift, so have their quadrennial party platforms.
- Masters Theses