Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2299991
 
 

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Testing the Etch-a-Sketch Hypothesis: A Computational Analysis of Mitt Romney's Ideological Makeover During the 2012 Primary vs. General Elections


Justin Gross


University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Brice Acree


affiliation not provided to SSRN

Yanchuan Sim


Carnegie Mellon University

Noah A. Smith


Carnegie Mellon University - School of Computer Science

2013

APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper
American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting

Abstract:     
Downsian theory predicts that presidential candidates should shift toward the general electorate's median voter after securing their parties' nominations. Motivated by this largely untested hypothesis, we test the theory using candidates' campaign speeches as data. We develop a model to identify ideological cues in political text. After performing validation and robustness checks, we fit the model using presidential candidates' speeches from 2008 and 2012. The results show that Barack Obama, John McCain and Mitt Romney did indeed make substantively significant rhetorical shifts away from the ideological extremes after securing their parties' presidential nominations.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 39

Keywords: Political communication, text analysis, ideology, latent variable measurement, natural language processing, U.S. presidential elections, median voter

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Date posted: September 18, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Gross, Justin and Acree, Brice and Sim, Yanchuan and Smith, Noah A., Testing the Etch-a-Sketch Hypothesis: A Computational Analysis of Mitt Romney's Ideological Makeover During the 2012 Primary vs. General Elections (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper; American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2299991

Contact Information

Justin Gross (Contact Author)
University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )
Chapel Hill, NC 27599
United States
Brice Acree
affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )
No Address Available
Yanchuan Sim
Carnegie Mellon University ( email )
No Address Available
Noah A. Smith
Carnegie Mellon University - School of Computer Science ( email )
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
United States
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