Maxwell School

Jeffrey M. Stonecash

Professor Emeritus of Political Science

Jeff Stonecash

Contact Information

408 Maxwell Hall
(315) 443-3629

Curriculum Vitae
Stonecash CV


Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1975


American political parties and electoral behavior


Undergraduate Courses:

Introduction to American National Government
American Political Parties
Inequality and American Politics

Graduate Courses:

Theories of American Politics
American Political Parties
Advanced Quantitative Methods


Counter Realignment: Political Change in the Northeast. (with Howard L. Reiter: Cambridge, 2011); New Directions in Party Politics, Editor (Routledge, 2010); The Dynamics of the American Party System (with Mark D. Brewer; Cambridge, 2009); Reassessing the Incumbency Effect (Cambridge, 2008); Split: Class and Cultural Divisions in American Politics (with Mark D. Brewer; CQ Press, 2007); Parties Matter: Realignment and the Return of Partisanship (Lynne-Rienner, 2006); Governing New York State (SUNY Press, 2006); Political Polling (Roman and Littlefield, 2003, 2009); The Emergence of State Government: Parties and New Jersey Politics, 1950-2000 (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002); Diverging Parties: Social Change, Realignment, and Party Polarization (Westview Press, 2002); Class and Party in American Politics (Westview Press, 2000).

Research Interests

Political parties, realignment of their electoral bases, and the impact of changing alignments on the nature of policy debates.

Research Projects

Party Pursuits and Connecting Presidential – House Elections, 1900 - 2008:  In the early 1900s presidential and House election results were closely connected. That relationship began to decline in the 1950s - 1970s, but has subsequently returned to close to levels of the early 1900s. While the decline was seen as a product of dealignment and candidate-centered elections, the argument of this analysis is that the separation of these results occurred because beginning in the 1960s presidential candidates pursued different electoral bases. Their efforts altered presidential bases and it took until the late 1990s for House election results to catch up. What was seen as the demise of party was really a consequence of party goals and strategies.

The Battle Over Personal Responsibility and Political Polarization:  From the 1930s through the 1960s Democrats and liberalism dominated American politics. The developing view, emerging from social science, was that much of how individuals developed was due to factors outside their control. This provided a rationale for more government programs to offset environmental influences. Then abruptly in the 1960s, following the candidacies of Barry Goldwater, George Wallace, and Richard Nixon and considerable social disorder, conservatives began their ascendancy. One of their central concerns was that individuals should be held responsible for how they lived their life. In subsequent decades the issue of personal responsibility has been a main point of contention between liberals and conservatives. This analysis focuses on how the ideological divide about personal responsibility rapidly changed the electoral bases and agendas of each party. With Mark Brewer, University of Maine.

Legislative Careers and Realignment:  An analysis of how realignment, largely beginning in the 1960s, has affected the electoral careers of House Members. The analysis focuses on how realignment in the latter half of the 1900s affected the ability of Members to improve their situation. The analysis also examines how the transitions that occurred in this era created the impression of greater incumbent security, when the changes actually reflected the effects of realignment.

The Role of Class in American Politics:  While many think class matters, there is no consensus that it does. We tend to focus on individual level variations as evidence for the relevance of class and the results are mixed, depending on what indicator is used. This analysis will argue that we have been looking in the wrong places. Two matters are central in making issues of class an important part of political debates. First, House districts vary enormously in their median family income and that creates considerable variation in concern for issues of class among Members and in policy debates in Congress. Second, ideological differences have become steadily more important in political differences, and class issues are a crucial part of ideology. This analysis will explore how these two matters have made class issues a significant part of American politics.

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