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Is Bipartisanship Dead? [SERIES]

Eyeball-to-eyeball in Washington as the cliff draws near again. Many believe bipartisanship is dead. In part one of a two-part series, we polled the pollsters to find out what they think.

Governor’s Office/Tim Larsen

Montclair University political scientist Brigid Harrison says, “I think that bipartisanship is on life support.”

She says increasingly, especially at the state level, legislators are being elected in districts that are much more partisan than they were 20 or 30 years ago.

“What that means is that then legislators don’t have to appeal to a broad constituency because their seats are safe.”

Fairleigh Dickinson University political expert Peter Woolley says bipartisanship isn’t dead, but both sides are trying to kill it.

“Bipartisanship is often a casualty, where the candidates want to draw very sharp lines,” Wooley explained.

But Woolley says bipartisanship does have a place and continues to have a place.

“One of those places can be in a statewide election.”

Patrick Murray, Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, says bipartisanship as we’ve known it, doesn’t exist any more.

He believes that’s due in part to the way we elect people, with incumbents more and more being favored for reelection.

“One of the things that we have seen through analysis is that Legislative districts and Congressional districts have both become much more strongly partisan,” Murray said.

“They were always geared toward one party or the other, but they are much more strongly partisan.”

In part two tomorrow, we ask how bipartisanship can be revived.

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