Challenges to the American two-party system: Evidence from the 1968, 1980, 1992, and 1996 presidential elections

Published

Journal Article

Recent successes by independent presidential candidates raise questions about the stability of the American two-party system. Students of electoral behavior point to party decline, whereas analysts of party organization see growth and transformation. Analyses of the 1968, 1980, 1992, and 1996 National Election Study surveys are used to determine whether support for Wallace, Anderson, and Perot resulted from dissatisfaction with the current two-party system. We find that there has been little erosion of support for the major political parties between 1968 and 1996. Americans with low levels of support for the major political parties were more likely to support Wallace in 1968 and Perot in 1992 and 1996. But to a large extent, support for Wallace, Anderson, and Perot resulted from dissatisfaction with the major-party candidates. Support for the major parties themselves has not eroded enough to provide a systemic opportunity for an independent candidate or for a new political party to end the Republican and Democratic duopoly.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Abramson, PR; Aldrich, JH; Paolino, P; Rohde, DW

Published Date

  • January 1, 2000

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 53 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 495 - 522

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1065-9129

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/106591290005300303

Citation Source

  • Scopus