Cultural Change, Party Ideology and Electoral Outcomes
This chapter provides an overview of spatial voting theory, and focuses on its difficulties explaining either the stability or the distinctiveness of party ideologies over time. It also provides overview of grid-group cultural theory, discussing the three active cultural groups associated with the theory and their characteristic policy preferences, as well as problems inferring voter behavior from these preferences. The chapter shows that how applying spatial voting theory to cultural theory hypotheses about the distribution of cultural preferences among American voters can resolve the paradoxes of ideology in spatial voting theory. It also shows that how historical changes in cultural patterns have led to observed changes in voting patterns and in the ideologies of the major political parties. In spatial models of electoral competition, voters are assumed to vote for the party or candidate whose perceived position is closest to their own. The result for electoral outcomes, however, is initially somewhat more harmful for Democrats than Republicans.