By Thomas M. Carsey
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Additional resources for Campaign Dynamics: The Race for Governor
1 illustrates this model. 1, Voter X’s ideal point on the liberal-conservative dimension is closer to the position advocated by Candidate A than that advocated by Candidate B. Thus, in each circumstance, Voter X would cast her ballot for Candidate A. The importance of the proximity to the ideal point of each voter combined with the aggregation of the preferences of individual voters into a distribution of preferences for the entire electorate leads to the now famous median voter theorem (Downs 1957; Black 1958).
Under these restrictions, the preferences of Voter X over the two policy dimensions can be represented graphically as a set of circular indifference curves (Enelow and Hinich 1984). Indifference curves represent those sets of points in the two-dimensional space that correspond to locations that candidates might occupy that are equally appealing to Voter X because all A Spatial Model of Issue Salience in Voting Behavior 31 Fig. 3. Indifference curves for Voter X in a two-dimensional space with separable preferences and equal salience among dimensions points on a single indifference curve are the same Euclidian distance fromVoter X’s ideal point.
This advantage is presumably why Candidate B wants to avoid making this dimension salient but is exactly why Candidate A has an incentive to make sure that voters know where both candidates are located on that dimension. To make a dimension more salient, candidates have the incentive to draw sharp contrasts between themselves and their opponents, which means that candidates can be expected to point out their opponents’ weaknesses as readily as they point out their own strengths. If one accepts that voters will generally have information about each candidates’ location on both dimensions, Hammond and Humes’ s model breaks down.