Patrick Fisher

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A significant departure for the conception of a consensual national political culture is proposed by Daniel Elazar. According to Elazar, the national political culture is the synthesis of three major political subcultures (individualistic, moralistic, and traditionalistic) that are dominant in varying parts of the country. Using American National Election Studies (ANES) data, this study finds that the partisan differences in the political subcultures are becoming more pronounced, especially among whites. Elazar’s classification of political culture has become even more relevant to American politics in the twenty-first century than it was in the 1980s and 1990s. In particular, whites in traditionalistic states appear to be moving in a significantly more Republican direction than the nation as a whole. On the other end of the political spectrum, whites in states with moralistic subcultures tend to be becoming more Democratic. Relatedly, public policy preferences also vary considerably by subculture. Those in traditionalistic states are considerably more important on a number of non-economic issues, including gun control, abortion, and gay marriage than people in states with other dominant subcultures.

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