Voters in Context

Walter J. Stone and Matthew K. Buttice

in The Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199235476
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

 Voters in Context

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  • Politics
  • US Politics
  • Political Behaviour


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Political behavior is a function of individual characteristics, the political and social contexts in which they are embedded, and interactions between context and individual variables. The studies and hypotheses organized on one dimension by two types of citizen response are addressed, these are: engagement and choice. The article also defines the strategic decisions of candidates and others who define the political context. The two aspects of this dimension are candidate investment and differentials. It is imperative to take full account of how competition between leaders stimulates citizen response. The study of how citizens react to the context facing them must also include theory and evidence about how that context gets defined. Formal theoretical work on candidate strategic choices, especially with respect to position-taking on the issues, has advanced, but research on many of the other choices that shape the political context is less developed.

Keywords: political behavior; citizen engagement; citizen choice; candidate investment; candidate differentials; voter

Article.  8163 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour

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