Measuring Constituency Ideology in U.S. House Districts: A Top-Down Simulation Approach

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Phillip Ardoin Ph.D., Professor of American Political Institutions and Department Chair (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
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Abstract: One of the most intractable problems associated with studying representation in the U.S. House of Representatives involves the measurement of district-level constituency opinion. In measuring constituency opinion in House districts, scholars have relied on a number of alternative approaches, including the use of demographic variables, small-sample estimates of public opinion, presidential election results, referenda data, and “bottom-up” simulated opinion. In this article we develop an innovative “top-down” simulation of House district opinion that provides more reliable and valid measures of House district ideology. We model state-level ideology (as measured by Erikson, Wright, and McIver 1993) as a function of various demographic and political variables found at both the state and House district levels, and then use the estimates from the state-level model to generate predicted ideology scores for each House district during the 1980s and 1990s. Our findings suggest that the top-down simulated measure is a valid indicator of House district ideology that can be used in a number of research venues.

Additional Information

Ardoin, P. J. and Garand, J. C. (2003) Measuring Constituency Ideology in U.S. House Districts: A Top-Down Simulation Approach, Journal of Politics, 65(4): 1165-1189. (Nov 2003) Published by Cambridge University Press (ISSN: 1468-2508). DOI: 10.1111/1468-2508.t01-1-00131
Language: English
Date: 2003

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