Fault Lines

Why the Republicans Lost Congress

Edited by Jeffery Mondak, Dona-Gene Mitchell

© 2009 – Routledge

16 pages

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Paperback: 9780415993623
pub: 2008-07-28
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Hardback: 9780415993616
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About the Book

In some years elections bring about enduring changes to the American political scene. In 2006, a pivotal election year, the Republicans suffered a resounding defeat, losing the House and Senate for the first time since the 1994 "Republican Revolution." But what caused this pivotal shift? Fault Lines provides both a wealth of insight regarding what happened in the 2006 congressional elections and a framework to aid in understanding the possible significance of the 2006 outcome for subsequent developments in American politics.

Contributors to Fault Lines, who all draw on the data from the 2006 Congressional Elections Study, include many of the nation’s most prominent and accomplished observers of Congress and congressional elections. This book promises to be an influential contribution to our understanding of Congress, congressional elections, the Bush administration, media and politics, political communication, and partisan polarization.


"Fault Lines offers a multitude of insights into the historic midterm elections of 2006. The authors use state-of-the-art analytical techniques to address the major questions from that year. The chapters are accessible and engaging, and the opening remarks from Lee Hamilton, a senior statesman in American politics, underscore the significance of this work."

-- James A. McCann, Purdue University

"This is a great project. Fault Lines offers an informed view of the circumstances surrounding the outcome of the 2006 election and their greater meaning in the scholarship on elections and governance. Mondak and Mitchell have put together an outstanding set of scholars and they touch on the major topics of the 2006 election: polarization, media effects, scandals, candidate quality, and the war."

—E. Scott Adler, University of Colorado, Boulder

"Fault Lines: Why the Republicans Lost Congress is required reading for students of congressional elections generally and for people who want to understand the importance of the 2006 election specifically. The authors have set the standard for understanding this historic midterm election."

--James A. Thurber, American University

"Elections like those in the 2006 midterm – marked by scandal, an unpopular war, an even more unpopular president, and a shift in partisan control of Congress – come along very rarely. It is rarer still to be able to understand such an election with well-timed data collection on issues of both political and scientific significance. That is what makes this volume so special. The combination of survey data across a wide variety of electoral environments, top experts in the field, and a once in a lifetime election makes it a must read for anyone looking for insight into contemporary American politics."

--Scott D. McClurg, Southern Illinois University

"Highly recommended. General readers, upper-division undergraduate students and above." -- CHOICE, Mar 2009 Vol. 46 No. 07

Table of Contents

Foreword, Representative Lee Hamilton 1. The Context for Defeat, Dona-Gene Mitchell and Jeffery J. Mondak 2. Did the Media Do It? The Influence of News Coverage on the 2006 Congressional Elections, Edward G. Carmines, Jessica C. Gerrity and Michael W. Wagner 3. Polarization, Attribution, and Communication Networks in the 2006 Congressional Elections, Matthew Buttice, Robert Huckfeldt and John Barry Ryan 4. Candidate Entry, Voter Response and Partisan Tides in the 2002 and 2006 Elections, Walter J. Stone, Nathan J. Hadley, Rolfe D. Peterson, Cherie D. Maestas and L. Sandy Maisel 5. Abramoff, Email, and the Mistreated Mistress: Scandal and Character in the 2006 Elections, David J. Hendry, Robert A. Jackson and Jeffery J. Mondak 6. Perceptions and Realities of Issue Voting, Dona-Gene Mitchell 7. The President, the War, and Voting Behavior in the 2006 House Elections, Gary C. Jacobson 8. Americans’ Perceptions of the Nature of Governing, John R. Hibbing, Elizabeth Theiss-Morse and Eric Whitaker

About the Editors

Jeffery J. Mondak is the James M. Benson Chair of Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dona-Gene Mitchell is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

About the Series

Controversies in Electoral Democracy and Representation

The Routledge series Controversies in Electoral Democracy and Representation presents cutting edge scholarship and innovative thinking on a broad range of issues relating to democratic practice and theory. An electoral democracy, to be effective, must show a strong relationship between representation and a fair open election process. Designed to foster debate and challenge assumptions about how elections and democratic representation should work, titles in the series present a strong but fair argument on topics related to elections and the institutions shaping them, voting behavior, party and media involvement, representation, and democratic theory.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Government / General