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Demographics, ideology and voting behaviour:A factor analysis of state-wide ballot measures

Russell Hillberry

No 1021, Department of Economics - Working Papers Series from The University of Melbourne

Abstract: Formal dimension-reduction techniques are frequently used to interpret data on legislative voting behavior. This study applies one such technique to countylevel election returns on 11 ballot measures in South Dakota’s 2006 general election. The measures on the 2006 ballot proposed substantial legal and policy changes, and spanned a broad area of the policy space. This and South Dakota’s high voter turnout levels makes it especially well-suited for the purpose of analyzing links between election returns and demographic and economic data. The factor analysis suggests a puritan-libertarian spectrum as the best 1-dimensional characterization of political divisions within the state. A county’s location on this spectrum is most strongly associated with measures of its population age and per capita income. Factor scores are very good predictors of support for the reelection of the incumbent Governor

JEL-codes: D72 Y80 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cdm and nep-pol
Date: 2007
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