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Dana Ables Morales, "Racial Attitudes and Partisan Identification in the United States, 1980-1992," Party Politics, 5 (April 1999), 191-198.

First Paragraph:
One of the current debates developing in the field of electoral behavior concerns the impact of racial attitudes on partisan identification in the USA since the 1960s. According to Carmines and Stimson (1989), racial issues have transformed American politics by influencing the development of party loyalties among voters who have entered the electorate since 1964. Their evidence shows that prior to 1964, partisan identifiers had virtually indistinguishable attitudes on racial issues, but that by 1980 these attitudes were polarized to a significant degree. According to their theory, this gradual 'issue evolution' can be largely attributed to generational displacement. Recently, Alan Abramowitz (1994) took issue with Carmines and Stimson's findings. He contends that the most serious problem with their findings is that they do not control for other issues when examining the relationship between racial attitudes and partisanship (p. 4). His results suggest that white flight from the Democratic Party is not related to racial issues, but is instead related to social welfare issues, including health insurance, jobs and living standards, and taxes versus services.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Pearson correlations among indicators of racial and social welfare attitudes, 1890-92
Table 2; Regressing party identification on composite racial attitudes and issue positions, 1980-92
Table 3: Logistic regression of presidential vote choice on composite racial attitudes and issue positions, 1980-92

Last Paragraph:
Certainly attitudes towards social welfare issues (which are usually rooted in economic concerns) are as important as racial attitudes in deciding party identification and the vote. The extent that these social welfare attitudes are correlated, not just with economic issues, but also with underlying racial group perspectives, is the question that will continue to create disagreements such as the one that has developed between Carmines and Stimson and Abramowitz. Regardless of how this theoretical controversy is eventually resolved, it is the practical problem of continued dissonance between race, parties and politics that should spur further substantive research in this area.