Do Moderate Voters Weigh Candidates’ Ideologies?
Voters’ Decision Rules in the 2010 Congressional
Published online: 31 August 2016
Ó Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016
Abstract Models of voting behavior typically specify that all voters employ
identical criteria to evaluate candidates. We argue that moderate voters weigh
candidates’ policy/ideological positions far less than non-moderate voters, and we
report analyses of survey data from the 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election
Study that substantiate these arguments. Across a wide range of models and mea-
surement strategies, we ﬁnd consistent evidence that liberal and conservative voters
are substantially more responsive to candidate ideology than more centrist voters.
Simply put, moderate voters appear qualitatively different from liberals and con-
servatives, a ﬁnding that has important implications for candidate strategies and for
Keywords Voting Á Elections Á Congress
A previous version of this paper was presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science
Association, Chicago, IL, April 2013. The authors thank the editor and two anonymous reviewers for
valuable comments, along with participants at seminars at Vanderbilt University and the University of
Washington St. Louis. The authors are responsible for any remaining errors. The data and replications
ﬁles can be accessed at http://dx.doi.org/10.7910/DVN/SING1G.
Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s11109-016-9355-7)
contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
& James Adams
Department of Political Science, UC Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Department of Political Science, University of Washington-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA
Department of Political Science, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, USA
Polit Behav (2017) 39:205–227