A Caltech Library Service

Issues and The Presidential Primary Voter

Aldrich, John H. and Alvarez, R. Michael (1993) Issues and The Presidential Primary Voter. Social Science Working Paper, 849. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA. (Unpublished)

[img] PDF (sswp 849 - May 1993) - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Most agree that voting in presidential general elections is largely contingent on the evaluations of the candidates, issues, and parties. Yet in presidential primary elections the determinants of voter choices less clear. Partisanship is inconsequential, information about candidate personalities and policy positions is scarce, and a fourth factor, expectations, may influence voters. In this paper, we reconsider the influence of political issues in presidential primaries. We argue that work has not adequately considered how "issues matter" in primary elections. Primaries are intra-party affairs, and the political issues which typically divide the parties are not very relevant in primaries. Instead, we focus on the policy issues candidate chooses to emphasize in their quest for the nomination, which we call policy priori ties. With data gathered about media coverage of the presidential contenders in the 1988 primaries, and using exit poll data from the 1988 Super Tuesday primaries, we show that issues, as policy priorities, do matter in presidential primary elections. This research also implies that primary campaigns matter, since information concerning the policy priorities of the candidates reaches the intended audience.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ItemPublished Version
Alvarez, R. Michael0000-0002-8113-4451
Additional Information:An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest. Political Science Association, Chicago, IL, April 1992. Some of the data utilized in this paper were made available by the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. Larry Bartels, John Brehm, David Canon, Paul Gronke, John Kessel, Philip Paolino, and Wayne Parent provided helpful comments. Published as Aldrich, John H., and R. Michael Alvarez. "Issues and the presidential primary voter." Political Behavior 16, no. 3 (1994): 289-317.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:849
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170824-161119322
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:80778
Deposited By: Jacquelyn Bussone
Deposited On:28 Aug 2017 23:48
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

Repository Staff Only: item control page