Information and Elections
Publication Year: 1998
Published by: University of Michigan Press
Preface to the Revised Edition
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It is very exciting to be able to revisit this research project and to have the opportunity to test my theoretical predictions on a sixth presidential election, which completes a two decade cycle of ...
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This book has evolved in two stages. The first stage of this project began with the development of my dissertation at Duke University. John Aldrich, my dissertation adviser, got me rolling on this project, and helped me bring it to successful completion. Peter Lange, while not my dissertation adviser, deserves credit for...
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Those who wrote the Constitution might be baffled by modern presidential elections. The system they envisioned certainly had no role for political parties, the mass media, primaries and caucuses, party conventions, or the hundreds of millions of dollars which are spent by the presidential candidates running for office. Rather, they desired that a small number of prominent political ...
2. Elections, Information, and Campaigns
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In the past half-century, political scientists have amassed a great deal of data about presidential elections. However, it is difficult to argue that we are any closer, after this half century of data collection and analysis, to answering some of the critical questions about the role of elections in a democratic society. Do elections constitute a link between constituents and representatives? Can candidates learn...
3. The Theory of Uncertainty and Elections
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As discussed in the previous chapter, voters often appear to be poorly informed about political affairs. In early studies, the findings regarding voter knowledge of political affairs were consistently negative-voters were believed to know little about vital issues of public policy, about where the two parties stood on these issues...
4. Measuring Uncertainty
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The problems of erroneous and unmeasured variables are becoming more apparent in the social sciences as researchers explore empirically new areas and subjects. Many of these new research areas concern theoretical variables ...
5. Modeling Uncertainty and Voting
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To test the hypotheses discussed in chapter 3, accurate measures of perceptual uncertainty are necessary. Unfortunately, while uncertainty has been discussed in the theoretical literature on voting (Enelow and Hinich 1984; Page 1976, 1978; Shepsle 1972), it was, until very...
6. The Causes of Uncertainty
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To test the hypotheses discussed in chapter 3, accurate measures of perceptual uncertainty are necessary. Unfortunately, while uncertainty has been discussed in the theoretical literature on voting (Enelow and Hinich 1984; Page 1976, 1978; Shepsle 1972), it was, until very recently, absent from empirical models of voting behavior. The absence of...
7. Information, Issues, and Candidate Evaluations
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You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. My first hypothesis about the effect of voter uncertainty about candidate policy positions is that the more uncertain a voter is about the candidate, the less likely they are to support the ...
8. Information and Voting Decisions
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Sometimes presidential candidates clearly enunciate their positions on important policy issues. But often they do not. In chapter 7 I demonstrated that voters in the five presidential elections from 1976-92 behaved as would risk averse individuals, by shunning the candidates they are more uncertain of, and by embracing the candidates they are more certain of. This relationship was shown to...
9. Campaigns and Uncertainty
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The focus of analysis so far in this book has been on the individual voter. Examining microlevel decision making has yielded a number of insights into how information influences voter choice. I have presented a considerable amount of evidence which documents the variation across the voting public in their uncertainty...
10. The Dynamics of Uncertainty
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We have undertaken to teach the voters, as free, independent citizens, intelligent enough to see their rights, interested enough to insist on being treated justly, and patriotic enough to desire their country's welfare. Thus this campaign is one of information ...
11. Information and Elections
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Information is an essential element of representative democracy. The linkage between the governed and the governors is a two-way flow of information, with those who are governed expressing their preferences, and those who are... the governors explaining their activities. Elections are a very important component of representation, a period in which this reciprocal information flow is at the greatest. Elections...
12. Uncertainty and Issues in the 1996 Campaign
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On November 5, 1996, Bill Clinton was reelected for a second term as the president of the United States. Clinton's vote percentage barely squeaked above 50 percent in another three-candidate race, while Bob Dole got 41 percent of the votes cast for president. Ross Perot, running now at the helm of the new Reform Party...
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Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 48 tables, 40 figures
Publication Year: 1998
Series Title: Michigan Studies in Political Analysis