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Estimating Voter Preference Distributions from Individual-Level Voting Data

  • Jeffrey B. Lewis (a1)

This paper presents a method for inferring the distribution of voter ideal points on a single dimension from individual-level binary choice data. The statistical model and estimation technique draw heavily on the psychometric literature on test taking and, in particular, on the work of Bock and Aitkin (1981) and are similar to several recent methods of estimating legislative ideal points (Londregan 2000; Bailey 2001). I present Monte Carlo results validating the method. The method is then applied to determining the partisan and ideological basis of support for presidential candidates in 1992 and to U.S. mass and congressional partisan realignment on abortion policy since 1973.

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Political Analysis
  • ISSN: 1047-1987
  • EISSN: 1476-4989
  • URL: /core/journals/political-analysis
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