The electoral consequences of issue ambiguity: An examination of the presidential candidates' issue positions from 1968 to 1980
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This study investigates the consequences of ambiguity in the issue positions of presidential candidates from 1968 to 1980. Two potential consequences are examined: a direct impact and a conditional impact on the vote. The findings indicate no significant direct effect on the vote. However, significant conditional effects were found. Compared to losing candidates, winning candidates were somewhat less likely to hold clear positions when issues were salient to the public and were somewhat more likely to hold ambiguous positions when public opinion was dispersed. They were especially more likely to be ambiguous when their positions substantially differed from the median public position on the issue.
KeywordsDirect Effect Potential Consequence Public Opinion Direct Impact Public Position
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