Moral Values and Voting

90 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2017 Last revised: 15 Aug 2018

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Date Written: August 14, 2018


This paper studies the supply of and demand for moral values in recent U.S. presidential elections. Using a combination of large-scale questionnaire data and text analyses, I find support for the hypothesis that both voters and politicians exhibit heterogeneity in their emphasis on "universal" relative to "communal" moral values, and that politicians' vote shares partly reflect the extent to which their moral appeal matches the values of the electorate, in particular in 2016. Over the last decade, Americans' values have become increasingly communal -- especially in rural areas -- which generated increased moral polarization and changes in voting patterns across space.

Suggested Citation

Enke, Benjamin, Moral Values and Voting (August 14, 2018). Available at SSRN: or

Benjamin Enke (Contact Author)

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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