In which of the following situations does dealignment occur?
A. A Steep rise in party loyalty among voters
B. A Moderate rise in a party loyalty and a decline in independent and split- tickt voting
C. A decline in party loyalty among voters and a rise in independent and split- ticket
D. A Rise in loyalty toward the Republicans and a decline in loyalty towards the democrats
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In order to be able to answer this question, you need to know what dealignment means in the context of party politics. In political science, the term partisan alignment refers to the party affiliations of the electorate. In other words, it refers to the “lineup” of groups that support a particular political party. For example, if African Americans and educated whites tend to vote Democrat while poorer and less educated whites tend to vote Republican, that is a particular partisan alignment. These “lineups” are only considered to be real partisan alignments if the groups vote in a particular way over a long period of time.
With this in mind, what would a dealignment be? A dealignment would occur when the groups from the alignment stop identifying with the party they had identified with for a long time. What is more, they do not switch parties (that would be a realignment). Instead, they simply no longer have a strong loyalty to any party. To use our example above, it would be a dealignment if the percentage of African Americans who vote Democratic dropped from 90 to 45 or 50. This group would have stopped being aligned with the Democrats without going over to the Republican side.
So, which of the multiple choice answers is correct? Hopefully you will be able to realize that C is the correct answer because it represents a scenario where voters have stopped identifying strongly with the party they used to be aligned with.
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