THE DISAPPEARING CENTER:
Engaged Citizens, Polarization, and American Democracy.
By Alan I. Abramowitz.
Yale Univ. Press. 194 pp. $35
Nearly 50 years ago, sociologist Philip Converse published his landmark article “The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics,” in which he presented polling data showing that most American voters lacked coherent ideologies. Now, Emory University political scientist Alan I. Abramowitz has turned this notion on its head. In his important and persuasive book The Disappearing Center, he argues that voters today take their ideologies quite seriously. His analysis of survey data stretching back several decades leads him to believe that Americans “are more interested in...