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Deterministic and Probabilistic Voting Models

Barry C. Burden
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 41, No. 4 (Oct., 1997), pp. 1150-1169
DOI: 10.2307/2960485
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2960485
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.
Deterministic and Probabilistic Voting Models
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Abstract

Theory: Deterministic formal models assume that voters make decisions with certainty while probabilistic models assume that voters' intentions are uncertain. Because of their different assumptions, the models produce different equilibrium results, yet there are no criteria for selecting one over the other. Hypotheses: Both approaches are modeling the same process though probabilistic intentions may reveal more information about voter decisions since they incorporate uncertainty. Methods: Respondents in two surveys randomly received the traditional, deterministic voting questions or new, probabilistic items. Several simple empirical tests are conducted to examine the relative performance of the two question types. Results: Probabilistic questions fare just as well as deterministic questions, indicating that these newer formal voting theories should be taken seriously when modeling elections in which voters are uncertain.

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