Following on this post, here is a tidbit from a new poll:

Romney’s seen a massive improvement in his personal favorability numbers over the last 2 months as GOP voters have unified around him. He’s gone from a -28 spread (29/57) up to a -12 one (39/51). Most of the improvement has come with Republicans, going from 43/41 to 67/22. His numbers with Democrats are steady and he’s seen a little bit of improvement with independents from 32/55 to 36/50, although he remains unpopular.

The reason I keep harping on this is because party disunity is so frequently a news story, but party unity is by far the norm.  In fact, one of the most venerable findings in the study of elections is that political campaigns consolidate the faithful, bringing wayward sheep back the flock, as it were.  In one of the earliest quantitative studies of a presidential contest, The People’s Choice, authors Paul Lazarsfeld, Bernard Berelson, and Hazel Gaudet said this of the 1940 campaign:

Knowing a few of their personal characteristics, we can tell with fair certainty how they will finally vote: they join the fold to which they belong.  What the campaign does is to activate their political predispositions.

[Cross-posted at The Monkey Cage]

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John Sides

John Sides is an associate professor of political science at George Washington University.