Measuring the Consequences of Delegate Selection Rules in Presidential Nominations

Journal of Politics, Vol. 52, No. 2, pp. 609-621, May 1990

13 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2008

See all articles by Stephen Ansolabehere

Stephen Ansolabehere

Harvard University - Department of Government

Gary King

Harvard University

Abstract

In this paper, we formalize existing normative criteria used to judge presidential selection contests by modeling the translation of citizen votes in primaries and caucuses into delegates to the national party conventions. We use a statistical model that enables us to separate the form of electoral responsiveness in presidential selection systems, as well as the degree of bias toward each of the candidates. We find that (1) the Republican nomination system is more responsive to changes in citizen votes than the Democratic system; (2) non-PR primaries are always more responsive than PR primaries; (3) surprisingly, caucuses are more proportional than even primaries held under PR rules; (4) significant bias in favor of a candidate was a good prediction of the winner of the nomination contest. We also (5) evaluate the claims of Ronald Reagan in 1976 and Jesse Jackson in 1988 that the selection systems were substantially biased against their candidates. We find no evidence to support Reagan's claim, but substantial evidence that Jackson was correct.

Suggested Citation

Ansolabehere, Stephen and King, Gary, Measuring the Consequences of Delegate Selection Rules in Presidential Nominations. Journal of Politics, Vol. 52, No. 2, pp. 609-621, May 1990 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1084185

Stephen Ansolabehere (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Gary King

Harvard University ( email )

1737 Cambridge St.
Institute for Quantitative Social Science
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-500-7570 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://gking.harvard.edu

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