Some good Monday morning reading here:
Trying to appear moderate is not always the best strategy for capturing votes during an election, reveals a new study. Extreme positions can build trust among an electorate, who value ideological commitment in times of uncertainty.
“The current political advantage of the Republican Party stems from the ability of its candidates to develop ‘signature ideas.’ This strategy is rewarded even when the electorate has ideological reservations,” says University of Southern California economist Juan Carrillo, adding that this poses a challenge for the Democrats.
Er, yes. And a bit more…
Carrillo and Castanheira’s paper is an important challenge to the widely accepted median voter theorem. In the median voter theorem, voters who are fully informed will use their understanding when casting a ballot, choosing the platform that is closest to their own beliefs. Thus, it stands to reason that to attract the majority of votes, parties should try to appeal to the majority of voters.
But, as the researchers point out, it is rare for a voter to be fully informed in real life. More likely, voters will have incomplete and sometimes inaccurate information about how left-leaning or right-leaning stances actually translate into high quality proposals for, say, withdrawing troops safely or reforms.
Source: a eurekalert.org discussion of research findings published in The Economic Journal.