A Conflict Theory of Voting
Research in the behavioral psychology of voting has found that voters tend to be poorly informed, highly responsive to candidate personality, and follow a "fast and frugal" heuristic. This paper analyzes optimal candidate strategies in a two-party election in which voters are assumed to behave according to these traits. Under this assumption, candidates face a trade-off between appealing to a broader base and being overly ambiguous in their policy stances. A decrease in the cost of ambiguity within this model offers a parsimonious justification for the increase in voter independence, candidate ambiguity, and party politics that empirical studies have revealed over the last five decades. I additionally argue a decrease in the cost of ambiguity is a natural result of the primary system, campaign finance reform, and changing media environment.
|Date of creation:||Sep 2008|
|Date of revision:||Mar 2010|
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- Jeremy Petranka, 2009. "A Threshold Interpretation of the Ratio-Form Contest Success Function," Working Papers 2010-06, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, revised Mar 2010.
- Tim Groseclose & Jeffrey Milyo, 2005.
"A Measure of Media Bias,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 120(4), pages 1191-1237, November.
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