A Note on Close Elections and Regression Analysis of the Party Incumbency Advantage
11 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2014
Date Written: March 1, 2014
Much research has recently been devoted to understanding the effects of party incumbency following close elections, typically using a regression discontinuity design. Researchers have demonstrated that close elections in the United States may systematically favor certain types of candidates, and that a research design that focuses on close elections may therefore be inappropriate for estimation of the incumbency advantage. We demonstrate that any issues raised with the study of close elections may be equally applicable to the ordinary least squares analysis of electoral data, even when the sample contains all elections. When vote share is included as part of a covariate control strategy, the estimate produced by an ordinary least squares regression that includes all elections either exactly reproduces or approximates the regression discontinuity estimate.
Keywords: regression discontinuity, incumbency advantage, close elections, causal inference
JEL Classification: C13
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation