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date: 19 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article reviews what American elections, through the National Election Study (NES) and similar survey-based analyses of the electorate, have accomplished. What were the major intellectual questions and theoretical debates that have arisen as a result of elections, and where have they taken us? It then evaluates the directions that have spun off from this common core in recent years, and asks where they are likely to lead. Scholars have used NES surveys to test propositions drawn from all of these approaches. However, none of them provides a comprehensive answer to questions of how voters decide whether to vote and for whom. The classical paradigm of the large-N random survey has already taken many new directions. The results are changing the nature of the research problem and it is therefore likely to change the nature of the theoretical structure of the field. It seems likely that new theory will emerge from advances in social psychology and neuroscience.

Keywords: American elections, National Election Study, electorate, voters, vote, large-N random survey

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