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Issue Voting Under Uncertainty: An Empirical Test

Larry M. Bartels
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 30, No. 4 (Nov., 1986), pp. 709-728
DOI: 10.2307/2111269
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2111269
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Issue Voting Under Uncertainty: An Empirical Test
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Abstract

Enelow and Hinich (1981) proposed a simple model of issue voting for the case in which voters are uncertain about candidates' issue positions. This paper adds an equally simple model of survey responses for issue placement questions that makes it possible to estimate respondents' uncertainty indirectly from existing National Election Study (NES) data. An empirical test of Enelow and Hinich's model based on voting behavior in the 1980 presidential election indicates that voters dislike uncertainty, as suggested by the model. Indeed, uncertainty about candidates' issue positions appears to have been sufficiently pervasive and important to rival issue distances as a determinant of electoral choices.

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