David W. Brady (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Professor of Political Science and Leadership Values, Stanford Graduate School of Business, 518 Memorial Way, Stanford, CA 94305-5015.
Primary Elections and Candidate Ideology: Out of Step with the Primary Electorate?
Article first published online: 7 JAN 2011
2007 Comparative Legislative Research Center at the University of Iowa
Legislative Studies Quarterly
Volume 32, Issue 1, pages 79–105, February 2007
How to Cite
BRADY, D. W., HAN, H. and POPE, J. C. (2007), Primary Elections and Candidate Ideology: Out of Step with the Primary Electorate?. Legislative Studies Quarterly, 32: 79–105. doi: 10.3162/036298007X201994
- Issue published online: 7 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 7 JAN 2011
This article draws on a new dataset of House primary- and general-election outcomes (1956–98) to examine the relationship between primary elections and candidate ideology. We show that, like presidential candidates, congressional candidates face a strategic-positioning dilemma: should they align themselves with their general- or primary-election constituencies? Relative to general-election voters, primary voters favor more ideologically extreme candidates. We show that congressional candidates handle the dilemma by positioning themselves closer to the primary electorate. This article thus supports the idea that primaries pull candidates away from median district preferences.