Chapter

The Three Faces of Policy Voting

Paul Goren

in On Voter Competence

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780195396140
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979301 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195396140.003.0004

Series: Series in Political Psychology

The Three Faces of Policy Voting

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This chapter integrates the historical and conceptual analyses from the previous two chapters into a theory of voter choice. The chapter argues that citizens must satisfy three conditions to policy vote: availability, centrality, and position matching. When policy attitudes reside in long-term memory, perform as central heuristics, and are matched to the positions held by the respective candidates, policy voting should ensue. The role political sophistication plays in moderating reliance on each class of attitudes is explained. The logic of the model, in conjunction with prior empirical work, leads to the following hypotheses. First, the relationship between liberal-conservative attitudes and the presidential vote should grow stronger at higher levels of sophistication. Second, issue voting should also be conditional on sophistication. Third, the politically sophisticated and unsophisticated alike should ground their votes in policy principles.

Keywords: ideological voting; issue voting; principle-based voting; political sophistication

Chapter.  10312 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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