American Journal of Political Science, v58, n2, April 2014, pp. 337-351
48 Pages Posted: 9 Sep 2010 Last revised: 9 Jul 2014
Date Written: May 1, 2013
Many theoretical and empirical accounts of representation argue that primary elections are a polarizing influence. Likewise, many reformers advocate opening party nominations to non-members as a way of increasing the number of moderate elected officials. Data and measurement constraints, however, have limited the range of empirical tests of this argument. We marry a unique new data set of state legislator ideal points to a detailed accounting of primary systems in the United States to gauge the effect of primary systems on polarization. We find that the openness of a primary election has little, if any, effect on the extremity of the politicians it produces.
Keywords: State legislatures, polarization, primaries, American politics, partisanship
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
McGhee, Eric and Masket, Seth E. and Shor, Boris and Rogers, Steven and McCarty, Nolan, A Primary Cause of Partisanship? Nomination Systems and Legislator Ideology (May 1, 2013). American Journal of Political Science, v58, n2, April 2014, pp. 337-351. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1674091 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1674091