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Do Voters Learn from Presidential Election Campaigns?

Alvarez, R. Michael and Glasgow, Garrett (1997) Do Voters Learn from Presidential Election Campaigns? Social Science Working Paper, 1022. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

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Theory: We present a model of voter campaign learning which is based on Bayesian learning models. This model assumes voters are imperfectly informed and that they incorporate new information into their existing perceptions about candidate issue positions in a systematic manner. Hypothesis: Additional information made available to voters about candidate issue positions during the course of a political campaign will lead voters to have more precise perceptions of the issue positions of the candidates involved. Data and Methods: We use panel survey data from the 1976 and 1980 presidential elections, combined with content analyses of the media during these same elections. Our primary analysis is conducted using random effects panel models. Results: We find that during each of these campaigns many voters became better informed about the positions of candidates on many issues and that these changes in voter information are directly related to the information flow during each presidential campaign.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Alvarez, R. Michael0000-0002-8113-4451
Additional Information:An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Southern Political Science Association Annual Meeting, November 1996. We thank the John M. Olin Foundation for sponsoring some of this research. We also thank Thomas Patterson for access to his content analysis of the 1976 presidential election, and Stacy Kerkla for her assistance with content analysis of the 1980 presidential election. Last, we thank Jonathan Katz for helpful discussions.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Funding AgencyGrant Number
John M. Olin FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1022
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170811-165812488
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:80329
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:14 Aug 2017 16:59
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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