The Median Voter Data Set: Voter Preferences across 50 Democracies from 1945

28 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2009 Last revised: 3 Nov 2009

Date Written: November 2, 2009


The median voter, or the ideological position of the electoral center, has fi gured widely across literatures. This paper introduces a median voter data set that allows for comparison across time and across countries. The data set employs the statistics provided by the Comparative Manifesto Project but corrects for stochastic error using work by Benoit, Laver & Mikhaylov (2009) and includes standard errors. This research applies the Kim & Fording (1998) methodology that links party positions with electoral outcomes to arrive at revealed voter preferences. This data set provides insight into the median voter in over 50 democracies. For more established democracies the time series typically starts in the mid 1940s. For the United States the data starts in 1920 and includes the 2008 election. Descriptive graphs illustrate the major trends in voter preferences. The median voter data set is included at the end of this paper and is available online.

Keywords: Median Voter, Voter Preferences, Comparative Manifesto Project, Policy Preferences, Electoral Systems, Political Economy, Statistics

JEL Classification: C80, D72, O57, P16, Y1

Suggested Citation

De Neve, Jan-Emmanuel, The Median Voter Data Set: Voter Preferences across 50 Democracies from 1945 (November 2, 2009). Available at SSRN: or

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve (Contact Author)

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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