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Lines in the Sand on the Australian Political Beach


  • Tim R.L. Fry
  • Sinclair Davidson
  • Lisa Farrell


Spatial models of voting behaviour are the dominant paradigm in political science. Consistent with this approach, it will be the case that, ceteris paribus, voters should vote for the party nearest to them on the political spectrum. A key question is how we measure nearness or distance. We investigate this issue by estimating discrete choice models for voting outcomes using the 2001 Australian Election Study survey data. The evidence supports the proposition that it is perceived and not actual distance that performs best. Our findings also suggest that where a voter locates on the political spectrum is almost as good a predictor of their voting outcome as how close they are to the parties

Suggested Citation

  • Tim R.L. Fry & Sinclair Davidson & Lisa Farrell, 2004. "Lines in the Sand on the Australian Political Beach," Econometric Society 2004 Australasian Meetings 173, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:ausm04:173

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lewis, Jeffrey B. & King, Gary, 1999. "No Evidence on Directional vs. Proximity Voting," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 21-33, January.
    2. Mueller,Dennis C., 2003. "Public Choice III," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521894753, March.
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    More about this item


    Spatial Competition; Distance Measures; Discrete Choice;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions; Probabilities

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