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Robert D. Brown and John M. Bruce, "Political Parties in State and Nation: Party Advantage and Party Competition in a Federal Setting," Party Politics, 8 (November, 2002), 635-656.

First Paragraph:
Examinations of the importance of partisan competition are extensive and varied, representing a significant segment of the scholarly literature on political parties and party systems. This focus stems from the perceived role of competitive parties as an integral ingredient in facilitating healthy democratic government. For scholars in the American Politics subfield, the call to study partisan competition is stated most forcefully in V. O. Key's Southern Politics in State and Nation (1949). Here Key reminds us of the potential dangers of one-party state political systems, which, as he illustrates, are often plagued by factions, issueless politics and demagoguery.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Party advantage at the state and national levels, 1980-7
Figure 1. National and state party advantage
Table 2. Party competition at the state and national levels, 1980-7
Figure 2. National and state party competition
Figure 3. Party advantage and party competition

Last Paragraph:
The descriptions examined here also point toward a variety of interesting future pursuits. A mainstay of the party competition literature is the theorized impact of competition on voter turnout. To date, this has only been examined with data on state-level competition. Including national-level competition may provide additional and more theoretically satisfying insight into the competition-participation relationship. Moreover, the increased level of information derived from measures that may differ across electoral levels allows us to examine what factors drive these differences, allowing for a much richer understanding of the nature of demographic patterns, partisanship, ideology, candidate and campaign effects on the state electoral landscape. Finally, as more data become available we can examine changes in party advantage and competition over electoral eras and what drives these changes at different levels of electoral competition. Taken together, we believe these analyses have the potential to add significantly to our understanding of the factors that influence the competitive character of party systems in a federal electoral setting.