“Estimating the Effects of Issue Positions: Results from Two Survey Experiments” with Andrew Gooch, Yale
AMERICAN POLITICS & PUBLIC POLICY WORKSHOP
Abstract: We re-examine the extent to which voters hold political elites accountable for their policy positions. We argue that nearly all of the previous empirical work on this question, which has typically focused on the correlation between observed issue position divergence and voter punishment, suffers from potential identification problems. Using a survey experiments, we show that voters are more likely to punish candidates for 1) issue positions that are too extreme for their own party, 2) bipartisan positions that are usually supported by the other party, and 3) ideologically inconsistent issue positions that do not align with contemporary American politics. This punitive effect for deviating from mainstream party positions influences a candidate’s favorability, ideology, uncertainty about ideology, various valence dimensions of competency, primary election vote choice, general election vote choice, and general election turnout. These results have implications for democratic responsiveness and strategic position-taking.
Speaker: Andrew Gooch is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Yale University’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies and the Center for the Study of American Politics. Andrew studies voting behavior, public opinion, and representation. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles.