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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Voter Advice in the Presidential Election of 2008: A Guide for the Perplexed


Recently, voter assistance aids (VAAs) have become available on the internet to help voters make election choices. Customarily these aids work by asking a set of questions about the voter’s policy preferences and then matching the voter’s answers to the presumed policy positions of the candidates or parties, and then devising some method of weighting the various questions so as to develop an overall assessment of voter-candidate or voter party proximity. The voter is then advised which candidate or party s/he is closest to. We offer a single five item discriminator as our preferred VAA for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election. Carefully conducted experiments with both business executives and students validate the predictive power of this instrument.

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