Conference: SPSA 2017 in New Orleans
Title: “Voter Placement of Candidate Ideology: A Test of Competing Theories”
Co-Author: Michael Peress
Abstract: When asked to place candidates on an ideological spectrum, voters show a surprising level of variation in where they place candidates. One explanation for this variation is simply that voters may receive different information cues about the candidates and their position. Assimilation and contrast effects suggest voters may place candidates either closer or away from their own position based on their attitude towards the candidates. Finally, voters may have strategic reasons for misreporting the position of candidates, such as making their favored candidate sound more moderate so as to make them more appealing. Previous work on voter placement of candidates has been stymied by difficulties in placing both the actual and perceived positions of voters and candidates on the same scale and have tested these theories one at a time rather than comparatively. We develop an approach for placing candidates, voters, and the voter’s perception of the candidates on the same scale and develop an instrumental variables approach for distinguishing between the competing theories.
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Conference: APSA 2016 in Philadelphia
Title: “Looking for a Fight? Conflict Avoidance and Responses to Uncivil Politics”
Abstract: How does exposure to uncivil political conflict affect the willingness of individuals to participate in politics? I investigate the effect of an individual’s level of conflict avoidance, which is the willingness to avoid or approach conflict, on this question. Based on the current literature regarding uncivil political conflict and personality, higher levels of this trait are associated with more susceptibility to the negative effects of uncivil politics. I theorize, however, that low levels of this trait may be associated with higher levels of political participation. Observational and experimental data indicate that conflict avoidant individuals become less politically engaged when exposed to uncivil political conflict while those more comfortable with conflict become more politically engaged compared to civil political conflict situations.