A Leap toward the Poles: An Analysis of Political Polarization and its Influence on Political Parties

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Political Science


Political polarization has significantly increased and influenced the workings of the American political sphere in recent times, especially political parties. This investigation’s research question focuses on discovering which level of the political party polarized first. Examining data sets including DW Nominate Scores of roll call votes in the U.S. House of Representatives, American National Election Studies Survey data, and mainstream political party platforms, this investigation seeks to understand how political polarization has influenced mainstream American political parties. This is accomplished by collectively looking at political polarization from party in government, party in electorate, and party in organization perspectives. This investigation finds that political polarization first surfaced in the government level of the political party. In the years following, the organization level of the political party also began to experience political polarization. Recent data suggests that the electorate level of the political party has also begun to experience political polarization. This investigation also attempts to understand the numerous causes of political polarization within each level of the political party.