A Categorization Theory of Spatial Voting: How the Center Divides the Political Space
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseIn Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
This article presents a categorization theory of spatial voting, which postulates that voters perceive political stances through coarse classifications. Because voters think in terms of categories defined by the ideological center, their behavior deviates from standard models of utility maximization along ideological continua. Their preferences are characterized by discontinuities, rewarding parties on their side of the ideological space more than existing spatial models would predict. While this study concurs with prior studies suggesting that voters tend to use a proximity rule, it argues that this rule mainly serves to distinguish among parties of the same side. Overall, the results suggest that voters’ party evaluations are characterized by a nontrivial identity component, generating in-group biases not captured by the existing spatial models of voting. Show more
Journal / seriesBritish Journal of Political Science
Pages / Article No.
PublisherCambridge University Press
NotesIt was possible to publish this article open access thanks to a Swiss National Licence with the publisher.
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