Unconventional Wisdom: Facts and Myths About American Voters

Paperback | June 19, 2008

byKaren Kaufmann, Daron Shaw, John Petrocik

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Late deciders go for the challenger; turnout helps the Democrats; the gender gap results from a surge in Democratic preference among women--these and many other myths are standard fare among average citizens, political pundits, and even some academics. But are these conventionalwisdoms--familiar to anyone who watches Sunday morning talk shows--really valid? Unconventional Wisdom offers a novel yet highly accessible synthesis of what we know about American voters and elections. It not only provides an integrated overview of the central themes in American politics--parties, polarization, turnout, partisan bias, campaign effects, swing voters, the gendergap, and the youth vote--it upends many of our fundamental preconceptions. Most importantly, it shows that the American electorate is much more stable than we have been led to believe, and that the voting patterns we see today have deep roots in our history. Throughout, the book providescomprehensive information on voting patterns; illuminates (and corrects) popular myths about voters and elections; and details the empirical foundations of conventional wisdoms that many understand poorly or not at all. Written by three experts on American politics, Unconventional Wisdom serves as both a standard reference and a concise overview of the subject. Both informative and witty, the book is likely to become a standard work in the field, essential reading for anyone interested in Americanpolitics.

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Late deciders go for the challenger; turnout helps the Democrats; the gender gap results from a surge in Democratic preference among women--these and many other myths are standard fare among average citizens, political pundits, and even some academics. But are these conventionalwisdoms--familiar to anyone who watches Sunday morning ta...

Karen Kaufmann is Associate Professor of Government at the University of Maryland. She has appeared on CNN's Inside Politics.. John Petrocik is Professor and Chair of Political Science at the University of Missouri. Daron Shaw is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Texas-Austin. He served as a strategist in t...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.68 inPublished:June 19, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195366832

ISBN - 13:9780195366839

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"This provocative book explains why a lot of what you--and most Americans--think they know about voters, elections, and campaigns is wrong. It is a thoughtful, straightforward volume by some of the most interesting minds in political science today. If you want to understand U.S. politics in the 21st century, read this book now."--Karl Rove "Unconventional Wisdom makes a significant contribution to our understanding of elections and performs a major public service, challenging the myths and false assumptions embedded in contemporary media analyses and in public discussion of campaigns."--Thomas B. Edsall, Political Editor, The Huffington Post; and Joseph Pulitzer II and Edith Pulitzer Moore Professor, Columbia University "Kaufmann, Petrocik, and Shaw take on--successfully--a very difficult project: to show that systematic, quantitative analysis about voting behavior can yield genuine insight, more so than observation, anecdote, and gut feeling. I hope they repeat this for more topics, because their message is not only interesting but insightful."--John Aldrich, Pfizer-Pratt University Professor of Political Science, Duke University "Campaigners will find this book even better than garlic for repulsing media vampires trying to fob off unsubstantiated urban legends on the public. The authors have done an enlightening job of demonstrating that conventional wisdom is an oxymoron."--Sam Popkin, Professor of Politics, University of California at San Diego