Brookings Institution

For Support Of Research On Congressional Primaries

Overview
Congressional primaries are the great under-studied part of American democracy. Big media almost never pay for exit polls in congressional districts, and there is plenty of evidence that the primary system is one of the major factors at the root of polarization. Yet very little is known about primary voters. Working with the biggest and most well-respected exit polling companies, Brookings will collect exit poll data in 20 congressional districts during the 2016 congressional primaries. The aim will be to help answer many questions about primary voters—their ideology, issue preferences, and intensity of participation in politics—and the effects these voters have on polarization.
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Grants to this Grantee
for support of senior fellowship  
In media through the decline of mainstream journalism, in politics through the decline of political parties, and in civic life through the decline of associations like civic groups and unions, the country has disempowered intermediaries and gatekeepers. The result, however, has been more chaos and less accountability in government and society. What’s the case for re-intermediating? How can institutions such as parties and mainstream media, and norms such as compromise and objectivity, be strengthened? Jonathan Rauch has been building the case for beleaguered institutions and middlemen in a populist age. This grant will help support his fellowship at the Brookings Institution.

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