Voter Choice in 1992: Economics, Issues, and Anger
This paper examines the voting behavior of individuals in the 1 992 presidential election. Employing a multinomial probit model we disprove several commonly held beliefs regarding the uniqueness of the election and the mood of the voters. We show emphatically the dominance of the economy as an issue, and that Clinton, not Perot, was the beneficiary of economic discontent. We show the limited influence of the candidates' efforts at choosing the optimal ideological position. We also demonstrate, via simulations of the outcome under hypothetical distributions of preferences, that the effect of the economy, while large, cannot by itself explain the magnitude of Bush's defeat. We also prove the surprisingly powerful impact of the candidates' positions on abortion on voters' choices. And we disprove the stylized fact that the 1 992 election was characterized by "angry voters." Finally, we show that Perot took more votes from Bush than he did from Clinton.
The data employed in this paper were gathered by the National Election Studies and made available by the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research. Earlier versions of part of this research were presented at the Political Methodology Summer Conference, Tallahassee, Florida, July 1993, and at the Annual Meetings of the Southern Political Science Association, Savannah, Georgia, November 1993. We thank Larry Bartels and Brian Roberts for their contributions, and Abby Delman for her assistance.
Submitted - sswp902.pdf