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Ideology and Spatial Voting in American Elections

Ideology and Spatial Voting in American Elections

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Stephen A. Jessee
Cambridge University Press, 6/29/2012
EAN 9781107025707, ISBN10: 1107025702

Hardcover, 200 pages, 23.5 x 15.8 x 1.5 cm
Language: English

Ideology and Spatial Voting in American Elections addresses two core issues related to the foundations of democratic governance: how the political views of Americans are structured and how citizens' voting decisions relate to their ideological proximity to the candidates. Focusing on testing the assumptions and implications of spatial voting, this book connects the theory with empirical analysis of voter preferences and behavior, showing Americans cast their ballots largely in accordance with spatial voting theory. Stephen A. Jessee's research shows voters possess meaningful ideologies that structure their policy beliefs, moderated by partisanship and differing levels of political information. Jessee finds that while voters with lower levels of political information are more influenced by partisanship, independents and better informed partisans are able to form reasonably accurate perceptions of candidates' ideologies. His findings should reaffirm citizens' faith in the broad functioning of democratic elections.

1. Introduction
2. Ideology
3. Measuring ideology
4. Linking theory and empirics
testing spatial voting theory
5. Partisanship vs. proximity
6. Political information and vote choice
7. The political perceptions of citizens
8. Conclusion.

Advance praise: 'In Ideology and Spatial Voting in American Elections, Professor Stephen Jessee develops an innovative approach to compare the ideologies of rank-and-file voters and presidential candidates, and proceeds to address several important questions, including: to what extent do rank-and-file voters display attitude constraint in their opinions across differing policy domains, and can their opinions across these different domains be represented by a position along a unidimensional ideological continuum? How does the distribution of citizens' ideological positions match up with the presidential candidates' ideological positions? How do citizens' ideological positions and their partisanship influence their vote choices, and does the answer to this question depend on the citizen's level of political information? Professor Jessee presents provocative and nonobvious answers to these questions that greatly enhance our understanding of public opinion, political behavior, and mass-elite policy linkages.' James Adams, University of California, Davis