Testing Models of Distributive Politics using Exit Polls to Measure Voters Preferences and Partisanship
This paper tests various hypotheses about distributive politics by studying the distribution of federal spending across U.S. states over the period 1978-2002. We improve on previous work by using survey data to measure the share of voters in each state that are Democrats, Republicans, and independents, or liberals, conservatives and moderates. We find no evidence that the allocation of federal spending to the states is distorted by strategic manipulation to win electoral support. States with many swing voters are not advantaged compared to states with more loyal voters, nor do “battleground states” attract more federal funds. Moreover, we find that spending has little or no effect on voters’ choices, whereas partisanship and ideology have massive effects.
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