Cornell University

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Daniel DellaPosta- Colloquium talk

Friday, December 1, 2023 at 3:00pm to 4:15pm

Uris Hall, G08

Talk title:

"Why Do Moderate Voters Choose Extreme Candidates?" 


Why is there such extreme polarization among political elites when the voters who choose them hold comparatively moderate views on many issues? While influential recent research argues that voters’ partisan social identities may simply override those same voters' ideological moderation, this talk presents evidence for a different account. Voters often know some—but not all—of the positions held by politicians and must use that limited information to infer which politicians fit most closely with their overall political views. Thus, candidates who rigidly back the party’s ideological priorities, even in cases where doing so is unpopular among the party’s own voters, paradoxically benefit because partisan voters infer that such a candidate is also likelier to support the party on other issues where the party's position is shared by their voters. Rather than voters preferring extreme candidates because those voters are ignoring ideology, reasonable partisan voters may in fact prefer more extreme candidates because they are prioritizing ideology while making judgments under uncertainty. I will demonstrate how this account works with an agent-based computational model of voting as well as  presenting results from a vignette survey that validates the model’s assumptions.   

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cascal, soccal

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