26 January 2006
February 3 brings a CAPS talk by Larry Bartels of Princeton titled "What's the Matter with What's the Matter with Kansas?" Thomas Frank's WTMWK (whose subtitle is How Conservatives Won the Heart of America) was a hot selling book during the 2004 presidential campaign and resonated with people who thought the election turned on moral values. This view was dealt with in a couple of the papers presented at PPBW last semester with Ansolabehere et al. coming down on one side and Abramowitz on the other. It only got mild support at a conference I just attended at OSU on the 2004 election.
It would be helpful to clarify what the debate is. If the ongoing argument after the 2004 election is about whether social issues have trumped economic issues for many lower-income voters, then Bartels and Franks are on opposite sides. Whatever the truth, this is different from arguing that moral values played a role in the election. There is no doubt that religious conservatives contributed to Bush's victory. But even this is different from asserting that gay marriage initiatives were a key ingredient in the outcome.
Posted by Barry Burden at January 26, 2006 8:00 PM
For those interested, here's Frank's reply to Bartels:
Posted by: Adam Berinsky at January 29, 2006 4:23 PM