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Polls and Elections: What's the Matter with the White Working Class? The Effects of Union Membership in the 2004 Presidential Election

Authors

  • PETER L. FRANCIA,

    Corresponding author
    1. East Carolina University
      Peter L. Francia is an associate professor of political science at East Carolina University. He is the author of The Future of Organized Labor in American Politics and the coauthor of Conventional Wisdom and American Elections.
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  • NATHAN S. BIGELOW

    Corresponding author
    1. Austin College
      Nathan S. Bigelow is an assistant professor of political science at Austin College. Recent publications include book chapters on interest group politics, political debates, and party conventions.
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Peter L. Francia is an associate professor of political science at East Carolina University. He is the author of The Future of Organized Labor in American Politics and the coauthor of Conventional Wisdom and American Elections.

Nathan S. Bigelow is an assistant professor of political science at Austin College. Recent publications include book chapters on interest group politics, political debates, and party conventions.

Abstract

Thomas Frank asserts that the Republican Party built a winning coalition in recent elections by convincing white working-class voters to cast their ballots on the basis of cultural wedge issues. Larry Bartels, conversely, argues that economic issues remain paramount to white working-class voters. The authors contend that the white working class is a more diverse bloc than both Frank's and Bartels's analyses suggest. Using data from the 2004 National Election Pool, their results show that there are significant political differences between white working-class voters in union households and those in nonunion households.

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