Questions about whether voters rely on their policy preferences when casting ballots have been present since scholars first began examining the determinants of voting behavior. This paper seeks to contribute to research in this area by analyzing abortion policy voting in Senate elections. Specifically, I investigate how the effects of national party position divergence, candidate position divergence, and voter information and salience moderate the relationship between abortion policy preferences and vote choice. The results suggest that the national parties' divergence on abortion does not directly strengthen the connection between abortion policy preferences and ballot decisions. Instead, candidate contrast appears to be the key. And, well informed and motivated voters are especially responsive. Taken together, the findings illuminate the nature of abortion policy voting and also inform the burgeoning scholarship on campaign effects, the role of information, and issue publics in American politics.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 10, 2004
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