American politics: Morris Fiorina on Polarization and Stability

Stanford political scientist Morris Fiorina is co-author of the book Culture War? The Myth of a Polarized America. Dr. Fiorina was interviewed by Russ Roberts for the 8 July Econtalk. Given that we invest nearly zero time on the study of politics, especially American politics, I’m not qualified to recommend resources. Nevertheless I recommend this interview – primarily because the media coverage interferes with any understanding of the workings of the US in particular. E.g., the “polarization and gridlock memes”. The real world is so much more nuanced and complex.

If you have too little time for the one hour podcast, try starting at 42:33 for the conclusion – including helpful discussion of red/blue states or districts.

If you are a political junkie, or simply motivated to access objective research on US politics, I highly recommend two other Stanford political scientists. Both have been interviewed several times on Econtalk:

David Brady, e.g., Brady on the State of the Electorate

Doug Rivers, e.g., Rivers on polling. Dr. Rivers is also an expert on polling (see e.g., YouGov.com). This particular podcast is an excellent primer on sophisticated polling – how to dig down to what people really believe – usually very different than reported by such as Gallup. E.g., if you do interactive polling where you first ask typical opinion questions, then expose the respondent to a few facts (such as costs), repeat the questions – then backing for the currently favored elite agenda often disappears.