Seth Hill, UCSD: Do Primary Electorates Polarize Congress?
Seth J. Hill is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. He studies political participation and vote choice. His research uses statistical methods to identify patterns in American voting from large-scale data compilations such as opinion surveys, precinct election returns, and administrative voter files. His teaching interests include American Politics, voting behavior, and political methodology. His published work has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, American Political Science Review, Election Law Journal, Quarterly Journal of Political Science, Political Science Research and Methods, Public Opinion Quarterly, and World Politics. He held a postdoctoral appointment at Yale from 2010 to 2012 and received his Ph.D. from UCLA.
The paper for Professor Hill's talk is available at: www.sethjhill.com/working/SJH_PrimaryElectorate.pdf
Abstract: The extreme preferences of the citizens who participate in primary elections are often offered as an explanation for divergence between how members of Congress behave and what their constituents would prefer. If candidates must appeal both to a primary electorate with far-from-center policy preferences and a general electorate with more moderate policy preferences, candidates may diverge from the policies they would support if they only had to win the general election. Despite the appeal of this argument, most empirical evidence on the effects of primaries finds small to no effects. I use survey data and a hierarchical model to estimate the preferences of Democratic and Republican primary electorates along with the general electorate in each House district across the country. I find that primary electorates diverge substantially in average policy preferences from general electorates, and my results suggest that primary and general electorate preferences have about equal influence on voting in Congress. I replicate using vote returns in the 2012 Texas senatorial primary.
Audience: Faculty, fellows, and graduate students only
Location: 300 Wallace Hall
Date/Time: 10/17/13 at 12:00 pm - 10/17/13 at 1:30 pm
Department: Center for Study of Democratic Politics