To date, most models of policy motivated campaign participation claim participation derives from the intensity or extremism of one’s policy views. I approach the policy motivation differently, generalizing the logic of proximity voting to model policy motivated campaign participation. Modeling participation as a function of extremism captures the activist’s policy preferences and suggests those with strong preferences participate more, while modeling participation as a function of proximity captures both the activist’s policy preferences and the relevant comparisons to the positions of the candidates. Noting the two alternatives lead to different predictions about variation in individual participation beyond turnout (e.g. campaign activities), I find consistent support for a proximity model of activism and I find no independent effect of extremism once I control for proximity. Moreover, the proximity model’s predictions about ideological responsiveness to changes in the candidates’ locations over time prove robust, while predictions based solely on ideological extremism do not.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 21, 2007
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