Reform and Representation: A New Method Applied to Recent Electoral Changes
42 Pages Posted: 4 May 2013 Last revised: 25 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 19, 2015
Can electoral reforms such as an independent redistricting commission and the top-two primary create conditions that lead to better legislative representation? We explore this question by presenting a new method for measuring a key indicator of representation – the congruence between a legislator's ideological position and the average position of her district's voters. Our novel approach combines two methods: the joint classification of voters and political candidates on the same ideological scale, along with multilevel regression and post-stratification to estimate the position of the average voter across many districts in multiple elections. After validating our approach, we use it to study the recent impact of reforms in California, showing that they did not bring their hoped-for effects.
Keywords: primaries, representation, elections, redistricting, polarization, MRP, ideal points, California
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