Partisan Conversion in the 1990s: Ideological Realignment Meets Measurement Theory


David W. Putz University of Houston, Houston, TX 77204–3011


A well–known debate in electoral behavior has centered on the potential for individual–level partisan change. As the recent work on ideological realignment published in this journal suggests, this debate is far from settled. Using 1992–1994–1996 NES panel data, I test the conversion assumption of ideological realignment theories using a structural equation model combined with two measurement models to control for measurement error in my indicators of ideology and party identification. Results suggest that while partisan conversion did occur during the 1994 midterm election, ideological realignment theories must be qualified.