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What is the real nature of substantive conflict in mass politics during the postwar years in the United States? How is it reflected in the American public mind? And how does this issue structure shape electoral conflict? William J. M. Claggett and Byron E. Shafer answer by developing measures of public preference in four great policy realms - social welfare, international relations, civil rights, and cultural values - for the entire period between 1952 and 2004. They use these to identify the issues that were moving the voting public at various points in time, while revealing the way in which public preferences shaped the structure of electoral politics. What results is the restoration of policy substance to the center of mass politics in the United States.
William J. M. Claggett is Associate Professor of Political Science at Florida State University. He is the author of The Two Majorities: The Issue Context of Modern American Politics, with Byron Shafer. He has also published numerous articles on public opinion and electoral behavior in leading academic journals including the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Journal of Politics. Byron E. Shafer is Glenn B. and Cleone Orr Hawkins Chair of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the author of The End of Southern Exceptionalism: Class, Race, and Partisan Change in the Postwar South, with Richard Johnston; The Two Majorities: The Issue Context of Modern American Politics, with William Claggett; Bifurcated Politics: Evolution and Reform in the National Party Convention; Quiet Revolution: The Struggle for the Democratic Party and the Shaping of Post-Reform Politics; and numerous scholarly articles, some of which are collected as The Two Majorities and the Puzzle of Modern American Politics. He has won the Schattschneider Prize, the Race and Ethnicity Prize, and the Party Politics Prize of the American Political Science Association, along with the V.O. Key Prize of the Southern Political Science Association.