We propose the inclusion of a geo-location measure for both the voter and candidate surveys. Work by Key (1949) has underlined the role of localism in political support. Other things being equal, voters will be more likely to support candidates who live in their neighbourhood, or who form part of another localist network. In the US case, presidential candidates have been shown to have a ‘home-state advantage’ (Lewis-Beck and Rice, 1983; Dudley and Rapoport, 1989). At the local level, this may occur as a rational response to possible incentives from an electoral pay-off. Equally, this may be a psychological affinity to candidates from the same environment, known to the voter and benefiting from a ‘trust’ premium. As distance increases, so such rational and psychological incentives diminish – the so-called ‘distance-decay’ described in human geography (Olsson, 1970), and tested in some political geography, but as yet untested in a full model of voting in Europe, at any electoral level.
These measures would ideally allow an accurate geo-location of each respondent. For anonymity, it would be necessary to jitter the actual location using a random distortion. Either address or coordinates would be usable.
Such data would be useful for a wide range of researchers, as this would enable closer analysis of a range of contextual factors (van der Eijk, 2002).
Kai Arzheimer (University of Essex)
Jocelyn Evans (University of Salford)
Dudley, R. and R. Rapoport (1989) “Vice-Presidential Candidates and the Home State Advantage: Playing Second Banana at Home and on the Road”, American Journal of Political Science 33: 537-540.
van der Eijk, C. (2002) ‘Design issue in electoral research: taking care of (core) business’, Electoral Studies 21: 189-206.
Key, V.O. (1949) Southern Politics In State and Nation. Knoxville: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Lewis-Beck, M. and T. Rice (1983) “Localism in Presidential Elections: The Home State Advantage”, American Journal of Political Science 27: 548-56.
Olsson, G. (1970) “Explanation, prediction and meaning variance: as assessment of distance-interaction models”, Economic Geography 46: 223-233.
Posted 15/6/2008 21:25 (#74 - in reply to #40) Subject: RE: Voter / candidate geo-location
The desirability of a postcode has several times been mentioned, but not on this user forum, so I am picking up on this post to put down another marker. A postcode has uses beyond those mentioned in this post, especially in permitting linkages to be made to media markets and other contextual characteristics that could influence voters.