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date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article addresses how the two reformist traditions have shaped the party systems of the states and how they can be studied. It also provides a broad outline of research on partisanship in the state electorates, state party organizations, and the role of the parties in state government. Some commentary on future directions for research is presented. It then briefly reviews these recommendations, focusing in particular on what kinds of opportunities and challenges are given for state parties research by the changes in the ideological polarization of the parties which are so evident at the national level. Stronger, responsible parties are supposed to increase both government's accountability to the public and policy coherence. The future for state parties research is bright with the promise of new data resources which will permit stronger and more definitive tests of theories of party and citizen behaviour.

Keywords: party systems, partisanship, state electorates, state party organizations, state government, ideological polarization

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