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Do Primary Electorates Polarize Congress?

October 9, 2018 @ 12:00 am

Do Primary Electorates Polarize Congress?

DateOctober 8, 2013

Time5:15am to 6:45am

Location
4357 Bunche Hall

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The extreme preferences of the citizens who participate in primary elections are often offered as an explanation for divergence between how members of Congress behave and what their constituents would prefer. If candidates must appeal both to a primary electorate with far-from-center policy preferences and a general electorate with more moderate policy preferences, candidates may diverge from the policies they would support if they only had to win the general election. Despite the appeal of this argument, most empirical evidence on the effects of primaries finds small to no effects. I use survey data and a hierarchical model to estimate the preferences of Democratic and Republican primary electorates along with the general electorate in each House district across the country. I find that primary electorates diverge substantially in average policy preferences from general electorates, and my results suggest that primary and general electorate preferences have about equal influence on voting in Congress. I replicate using vote returns in the 2012 Texas senatorial primary.

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Details

Date:
October 9, 2018
Time:
12:00 am
Website:
/event/do-primary-electorates-polarize-congress

Details

Date:
October 9, 2018
Time:
12:00 am
Website:
/event/do-primary-electorates-polarize-congress