Primary Election Systems and Candidate Deviation
Eastern Economic Journal, Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 365-376, Summer 2004
12 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2011
Date Written: July 9, 2004
A significant set of the public-choice literature considers the relationship between primary types and the resulting ideology of the winning candidate in primary and general elections. Research by Buel and Jackson , for instance, suggests that primary voters with ideologically extreme views are more likely to participate in political activities than other voters. Gerber and Morton  argue that the relevant median voter in closed primaries is more extreme than the median voter in general elections and that this difference is less pronounced in states with open or blanket primaries. In this paper, we build upon Gerber and Morton  by adding a new measure of deviation from the median voter that explains why politicians may prefer one primary type to another. We suggest that institutional arrangements such as primary types, in addition to logrolling and signaling, may account for candidate deviation from the median voter. In the process, we re-evaluate this principal-agent relationship with a focus on the role of agent deviation under different primary types.
Keywords: Public Choice, Voting Models, Ideology
JEL Classification: D72
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation