Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 1 > Issue 2

Party and Incumbency Cues in Voting: Are They Substitutes?

Stephen Ansolabehere, Department of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Shigeo Hirano, Department of Political Science, Columbia University, James M. Snyder Jr, Departments of Political Science and Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Michiko Ueda, Department of Political Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
 
Suggested Citation
Stephen Ansolabehere, Shigeo Hirano, James M. Snyder Jr and Michiko Ueda (2006), "Party and Incumbency Cues in Voting: Are They Substitutes?", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 1: No. 2, pp 119-137. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00000008

Published: 02 Mar 2006
© 2006 S. Ansolabehere, S. Hirano, J.M. Snyder, Jr, and M. Ueda
 
Subjects
Voting behavior,  Political parties
 

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In this article:
Data and Methods
Do Voters Substitute Party for Incumbency in Minnesota State Senate Races?
Minnesota State Senate Elections in Context
Conclusion
References

Abstract

A possible explanation for the rise of the incumbency advantage in U.S. elections asserts that party and incumbency are close informational substitutes. A common claim in the literature is that, as the salience of partisan cues decreased, voters attached themselves to the next available piece of information – incumbency. Minnesota state legislative elections provide a unique setting for testing this idea. These elections switched from using non-partisan to partisan ballots and primaries in 1973. We find that, after the switch to partisan elections, party voting increased substantially. However, contrary to expectations, the incumbency advantage also increased. These patterns suggest that party and incumbency are not close substitutes for large numbers of voters, and that cue-substitution cannot explain the rise of the incumbency advantage.

DOI:10.1561/100.00000008

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DOI: 10.1561/100.00000008_supp