American Presidential Elections

Process, Policy, and Political Change

Edited by Harvey L. Schantz

Subjects: American History
Series: SUNY series on the Presidency: Contemporary Issues
Paperback : 9780791428641, 272 pages, April 1996
Hardcover : 9780791428634, 272 pages, May 1996

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Table of contents

List of Figures

List of Tables



Harvey L. Schantz

Chapter 1 The Presidential Selection Process

Harvey L. Schantz

Chapter 2 Political Change Since the New Deal: The 1992 Presidential Election in Historical Perspective

Milton C. Cummings, Jr.

Chapter 3 Sectionalism in Presidential Elections

Harvey L. Schantz

Chapter 4 Alive! The Political Parties after the 1980–1992 Presidential Elections

Gerald M. Pomper

Chapter 5 Presidential Elections and Policy Change: How Much of a Connection Is There?

David R. Mayhew

Chapter 6 Political Parties and Presidential Elections in the Postindustrial Era 189

Everett Carll Ladd

Chapter 7 Conclusion

Harvey L. Schantz

Appendix: Presidential Election Results, 1789–1992

Suggested Reading

About the Authors


Milton Cummings, Everett Ladd, David Mayhew, Gerald Pomper, and Harvey Schantz analyze presidential elections over the sweep of American history and examine their impact on political parties, public policy, and society.


This book analyzes presidential elections over the sweep of American history, studies the 1992 presidential election, and examines the impact of presidential elections on the U. S. political system and society. It is guided by three basic questions: Are the fifty-two elections in U. S. history a set of discrete events, or are there patterns among them? Are some elections more important than others? And what is their impact on political parties, public policy, and society?

The authors compare and contrast presidential elections in order to understand better their individual dynamics. An extensive introduction thoroughly grounds readers in the processes of presidential selection; Milton C. Cummings, Jr. charts the dynamics of the 1992 election, describes the pattern of the vote, and contrasts the outcome with those of 1984 and 1988; Gerald M. Pomper analyzes state-level presidential election results and evaluates the effectiveness of political parties in the democratic process; David R. Mayhew tests the link between elections and major policy change, looking at the impact of divided government on politics and policymaking at the national level; Everett C. Ladd analyzes the impact of postindustrial society on parties and the electoral system; and Harvey L. Schantz examines sectional voting patterns in presidential elections from 1824 to 1992.

Harvey L. Schantz is Professor and Department Chair of Political Science at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh. He has served as a Congressional Fellow of the American Political Science Association and as a Visiting Fellow at Yale University.


"Unlike many other books on the 1992 presidential elections, this book sets the Clinton victory in the context of all presidential elections held in this century, with special attention given to the last twelve years. Schantz and his colleagues examine the larger picture. It is a compelling book. Simply put, there are no better scholars than Cummings, Ladd, Mayhew, and Pomper. " — John Kenneth White, The Catholic University of America

"…this book is very readable in general, and even engaging in some places. This is no minor accomplishment. Much of the literature involving election theory has either been so dry, or so laden with academic jargon, that it is unreadable. In addition, Schantz, and the other contributors, offer clear and concise explanations of some fairly complex matters. " — H-Net Reviews (H-Pol)

"This is must reading for serious students of political science. Sectional electoral behavior across time, a penetrating analysis of our most recent election, the place of parties within the context of the election system, and the relationship between elections and public policy are pressing topics within the study of presidential elections. " — Gary L. Rose, editor of Controversial Issues in Presidential Selection