The polarization of the U.S. continues.
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Every single state that elected a Republican senator this November voted for Donald Trump — and every single state that elected a Democratic senator voted for Hillary Clinton.
That’s a first in American history — at least going back to 1913, when the Constitution began mandating the direct popular election of senators. And it’s a dramatic reversal from much of the middle of the 20th century, when voters frequently backed senators of one party while also supporting the opposing party’s presidential nominee — a phenomenon known as “ticket splitting.”
The finding confirms a long-running trend: that ticket splitting is now virtually dead. The key culprit appears to be political polarization: Whereas the parties in the 1960s and 1970s were similar enough that a candidate’s local popularity could make a great deal of difference to a state’s voters, the Republican and Democratic caucuses are now so divided on the issues that it makes little sense to, say, back Hillary Clinton but oppose Democratic Missouri Senate candidate Jason Kander.
In an interview, the Center for Politics’ Geoffrey Skelley adds that the vote share of the parties’ presidential candidates and Senate candidate were also extraordinarily closely tied together this year (a 90 percent correlation). In other words, basically no Senate candidates did much better or much worse than their party’s nominee.
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