Polls and Elections: Partisanship and Voting Behavior: An Update



In this article, I update Bartels' (2000) analysis of the impact of partisanship on voting behavior in U.S. presidential and congressional elections, which extended from 1952 to 1996. I show that Bartels' findings nicely replicate and that between 1952 and 2008, the high point of partisan voting in presidential elections occurred in 2004. The level of partisan voting in 2004 was 4% higher than in 1996—the apex of partisan voting in Bartels' original analysis. The level of partisan voting in the 2008 presidential election was quite high, although it was slightly lower than in 2004, 2000, and 1996. The level of partisan voting in congressional elections has remained high but reached a peak in 2006, exceeding the previous high point of 1956. In the elections that have occurred since the publication of Bartels' original analysis, levels of partisan voting have reached new heights.