By many accounts, the U.S. presidential election in 2016 was one of the most contentious and surprising elections in the country’s history. Writing for The New York Times, Lynn Vavreck, a professor of political science at U.C.L.A., makes the case that the 2016 election was perfectly conventional in at least one respect – people chose who to vote for almost exclusively on the basis of party lines.
Since 2000, roughly 90 percent of partisans have voted in line with their party during presidential elections – and 2016 was no exception. Since the 1950s, Vavreck argues, people’s politics and their sense of social identity have only become increasingly intertwined.
When Gallup polled Americans on whether they’d rather their daughter marry a Democrat or a Republican in 1958, they found that 33 percent of Democrats polled wanted their daughter to tie the knot with a Democrat, while 25 percent of Republicans polled responded that they’d prefer their daughter to marry within the party.
When Vavreck asked respondents a similar question in 2016, asking them whether they cared about the political affiliation of their child’s spouse, people appeared to care much more deeply — 60 percent of Democrats said they would prefer their child to marry a Democrat in the 2016 poll, while 63 percent of Republicans prefer their child to marry a Republican.
In the long run, Vavreck explained, it appears that people within parties are becoming more and more homogenous — both in terms of racial and ethnic makeup, as well as on stances on issues. And if marriage preferences for their children are anything to go by, it appears that Americans plan on keeping things that way.
Read the full story at The New York Times.
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