UCI News

Shifts in political party control focus of study

New research by UC Irvine political science professor Bernard Grofman suggests shifts in political party control over the U.S. House,…

March 6, 2008

New research by UC Irvine political science professor Bernard Grofman suggests shifts in political party control over the U.S. House, Senate and Presidency occur roughly every 14 years. The study, published in the February issue of the American Political Science Review, found that cycles of support for the Republican or Democratic parties, and the shifts in party control that accompany them, occur more frequently than previously thought. Conventional wisdom has been that party dominance cycles roughly every 30 years. Grofman’s study, conducted with Samuel Merrill, III (Wilkes University) and Thomas Brunell (University of Texas at Dallas), explores party dominance from 1856-2006 and looks at whether realignment cycles actually exist; if change is random or regular and whether the cycle interval is the same for the U.S. House, Senate, and Presidency; and whether observers can identify the forces that drive these cycles. According to the study, the recent Republican ascendancy is likely soon to be replaced by Democratic ascendancy.