Gary C. Jacobson, a distinguished professor of political science at UC San Diego, delivered the 2013 Sheffrin Lecture "Partisan Polarization in American Politics."
In his presentation, Jacobson described how ideological differences between the American national parties have been widening for several decades, and that partisan divisions are now greater than at any time since the Civil War.
Although politicians and activists have led this transformation, ordinary voters have followed, and polarization is now deeply rooted in electoral politics. Thus the intense partisan conflicts that have characterized the Obama presidency are likely to remain the norm for the foreseeable future.
Jacobson received his B.A. from Stanford University in 1966 and his Ph.D. from Yale University in 1972. He specializes in the study of U.S. elections, parties, interest groups, public opinion, and Congress. His most recent book is A Divider, Not a Uniter: George W. Bush and the American People. He has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The Sheffrin Lectures in Public Policy are possible thanks to a gift from economics professor emeritus Steven M. Sheffrin, and his wife, Anjali. Co-sponsors are the Division of Social Sciences, the Department of Political Science, the Institute for Governmental Affairs, and the Herbert A. Young Society.