Lines in the Sand on the Australian Political Beach
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
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