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Geography, Uncertainty, and Polarization

Using new data on roll-call voting of U.S. state legislators and public opinion in their districts, we explain how ideological polarization of voters within districts can lead to legislative polarization. So-called “moderate” districts that switch …

Has The Top Two Primary Elected More Moderates?

Party polarization is perhaps the most significant political trend of the past several decades of American politics. Many observers have pinned hopes on institutional reforms to reinvigorate the political center. The Top Two primary is one of the …

Ideology and the US Congressional Vote

A large class of theoretical models posits that voters choose candidates on the basis of issue congruence, but convincing empirical tests of this key claim remain elusive. The most persistent difficulty is obtaining comparable spatial estimates for …

Ideology, Party and Opinion: Explaining Individual Legislator ACA Implementation Votes in the States

Why do state legislators vote the way they do? Which influence is predominant: ideology, party, or public opinion? The implementation votes surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provides a unique setting to examine this question, as they make all …

Do Moderate Voters Weigh Candidates’ Ideologies? Voters’ Decision Rules in the 2010 Congressional Elections

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 …

Reform and Representation: Assessing California’s Top-Two Primary and Redistricting Commission

Can electoral reforms such as an independent redistricting commission and the top-two primary create conditions that lead to better legislative representation? We explore this question by presenting a new method for measuring a key indicator of …

Ideology, Learning, and Policy Diffusion: Experimental Evidence

We introduce experimental research design to the study of policy diffusion in order to better understand how political ideology affects policymakers’ willingness to learn from one another’s experiences. Our two experiments–embedded in national …

Polarization Without Parties: The Rise of Legislative Partisanship in Nebraska’s Unicameral Legislature

Despite a long history of nonpartisanship, the Nebraska state legislature has polarized rapidly within the past decade. Using interviews and campaign finance records, we examine politics in the modern Unicam to investigate nonpartisan polarization. …

A Primary Cause of Partisanship? Nomination Systems and Legislator Ideology

Many supporters of political reform advocate opening party nominations to non-members as a way of increasing the number of moderate elected officials. This presumes that the composition of the primary electorate is, in fact, a significant cause of …

Red State-Blue State Divisions in the 2012 Presidential Election

The so-called “red/blue paradox” is that rich individuals are more likely to vote Republican but rich states are more likely to support the Democrats. Previous research argued that this seeming paradox could be explained by comparing rich and poor …