Issue Evolution: A Data-Driven Learning Guide Go to Resource


Issue evolution refers to the process by which issues are introduced to the political realm and eventually become defined along partisan lines. The theory suggests that when a new issue enters the political realm, party elites takes sides, and ultimately, define the issue along partisan lines. Members of the general public observe the behavior of the party elites and choose their position accordingly based on partisan identification. It is believed that the process unfolds slowly and gradually. If this is true, issues that have been in the political arena for a long time should have very clear partisan lines while issues that have been around for a shorter period of time should have boundaries that are less clearly defined.

The goal of this exercise is to examine the process of issue evolution by comparing partisan boundaries across several issues. Crosstabulation and correlation coefficients will be used.

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Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
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