On the Representativeness of Primary Electorates

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Authors John M. Sides, Chris Tausanovitch, Lynn Vavreck, Christopher Warshaw
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Many scholars and political observers attribute the increasing partisan polarization in American politics to primary electorates. Primary voters are thought to be ideological extremists who exert centrifugal pressure on candidates and legislators. Although extant political science research has not supported this characterization, the ideological sorting of the electorate, as well as the 2012 election, have renewed concerns about the unrepresentative quality of primary electorates. We undertake the first study of validated primary and general election turnout data in nearly 30 years. We find that on several demographic, participation, and policy measures primary voters look similar to other voters within their party.
Date of publication 2018
Code Programming Language R

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