Party polarization: Ideology trumps regionalism

by John MacBeath Watkins

From the blog voteview, we have this chart of how conservative or liberal the parties are in the U.S. House of Representatives, on the dimension of the role of government in the economy (yes, I know the charts are small, they are teasers to get you to go to the site that originated the data, voteview, because that seems fair to me.):

Northern Democrats are about where they were in 1967.  Southern Democrats are more liberal and less of the total for Democrats.  House Republicans are about three times as conservative as they were prior to 1980, if I'm reading the chart right.

The situation in the Senate isn't quite as dire, probably because you can't really gerrymander states.

But the result is that polarization between the parties is even higher in the House than it was during Reconstruction, and nearly as high in the Senate as is was in that unlamented era.

Go to voteview and read the full post, it's worth it.  One thing I found interesting was that they found regional differences make less difference than it did in the 1930s.  In short, our politics have become more ideological and less regional.