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date: 25 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines neo-Downsian models of party competition and voter choice, with a special emphasis on Riker’s notion of heresthetics. It argues that platform location is only one way in which parties or candidates compete to motivate voters to support them, with the neo-Downsian literature having moved well beyond the “classic comic book” version of Downs as simply predicting convergence to the views of the median voter when elections involve two-party contests held under plurality rules in single seat constituencies. The article considers a variety of models, including ones that emphasize the importance of changes in the location of the status quo, models with assimilation and contrast effects, models that look at differential issue salience and persuasion about the importance weights to be attached to different issue dimensions, and models that involve the introduction of new dimensions of political competition.

Keywords: Downsian model, neo-Downsian models, persuasion, issue voting, expected utility, campaign targeting, Electoral College

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