Morris Fiorina is the Wendt Family Professor of Political Science and a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. Professor Fiorina’s research focuses on legislative and electoral processes, examining the ways in which political institutions and procedures facilitate or distort the representation of citizen preferences. In his 2004 book Culture War: The Myth of a Polarized America, written with Samuel Abrams and Jeremy Pope, Fiorina contested the idea that the nation’s electorate has become increasingly politically polarized. Drawing on public opinion data, the book showed that while the media present the country as being divided over “hot button” political issues, the majority of Americans identify themselves as moderate and hold middle-of-the-road views on most major issues. “The simple truth is that there is no culture war in the United States – no battle for the soul of America rages, at least none that most Americans are aware of,” the book noted. What has become polarized, Fiorina’s research reveals, are the ideological views of the elite, including those of political commentators.
In Divided Government, Fiorina argued that some Americans intentionally vote for officials from different political parties to create a balance in government. His other works include Congress: Keystone of the Washington Establishment, a co-winner of the 1977 Washington Monthly Political Book Award, Retrospective Voting in American National Elections, which received the 2002 Philip E. Converse Prize, and The Personal Vote: Constituency Service and Electoral Independence, coauthored with Bruce Cain and John Ferejohn, which won the 1988 Richard F. Fenno Prize. He also co-edited Continuity and Change in House Elections and Civic Engagement in American Democracy. Another of his books, The New American Democracy, is now in its sixth edition. Most recently he coedited Can We Talk? The Rise of Rude, Nasty, Stubborn Politics(Pearson, 2013).
His current research focuses on how well the positions of elected officials reflect the preferences of the public, which is the subject of, Disconnect: The Breakdown of Representation in Contemporary America, written with Samuel J. Abrams and published in 2009. Fiorina is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has served on the editorial boards of many journals on political science and public policy.
Morris Fiorina: “I would love to believe that Obama read ‘Culture Wars’”