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Candidate Competition and Voter Learning in the 2000-2012 US Presidential Primaries

George Deltas () and Mattias K Polborn ()

No 242312792, Working Papers from Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department

Abstract: When candidates in primary elections are ideologically differentiated (e.g., conservatives and moderates in the Republican party), then candidates with similar positions affect each others’ vote shares more strongly than candidates with different ideological positions. We measure this effect in U.S. Presidential primaries and show that it is of first order importance. We also show that voter beliefs about the candidates harden over the course of the primary, as manifested in the variability of candidate vote shares. We discuss models of sequential voting that cannot yield this pattern of results, and propose an explanation based on a model with horizontally and vertically differentiated candidates and incompletely informed voters. Consistent with the predictions of this model, we also show that, in more conservative states, low quality conservative candidates do better relative to high quality conservatives, and vice versa.

Keywords: Voting; primary elections; simultaneous versus sequential elections (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 D60 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-pol
Date: 2018
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Journal Article: Candidate competition and voter learning in the 2000–2012 US presidential primaries (2019) Downloads
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