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Description: We test the implications of the spatial realignment framework against data from the 2012-16 electoral cycle. The data, which come from the 2011-16 Voter Study Group survey, include 19 items asked of the same 4,705 respondents in two periods. Social issues improved in their ability to separate liberals from conservatives, as well as Republican from Democratic voters. There was limited but statistically significant decline in polarization on some economic items (except trade). Decreased inter-party division on economic items has come with increased intra-party division, albeit asymmetrically between parties and across issues. Increased intra-party divisions are due to vote-switchers not having adopted their new parties’ positions. The changes we find are small and mostly consistent with spatial realignment. Overall, they amount to diminution of class-based politics, including on some social issues with redistributive implications.


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R code, data, and graphics/tables resulting from the two. Note: the two Markov chains are not included, as each is more than 180 MB.

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