A Flexible, Unified, Normalized Euclidean (FUN) Voter Utility Function
Prepared for delivery at the Annual Meeting of the 2015 Southern Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA , January 15-17
24 Pages Posted: 25 Dec 2012 Last revised: 11 Jan 2015
Date Written: December 20, 2012
This paper proposes a new unified voter utility function with both proximity and directional components. This improved unified spatial voter utility function enables researchers to predict voter choices from survey data and test the relative explanatory power of theories of voting behavior measured by opinion or exit poll surveys by combining survey question results. Decision-making processes may be flexibly varied by weighting individual questions, even, if desired, by individual voter. The utility function is normalized to facilitate comparisons between voter groups and to estimate the likelihood of voting, able to incorporate, we believe, virtually any voting behavior theory. Tested against a subset of 2012 ANES time series data, the model performs well.
Keywords: spatial model, voting behavior, political behavior, voter utility function, flexible unified normalized voter utility function
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