Atlantic Economic Journal

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 293–303 | Cite as

Bimodal issues, the median voter model, Legislator's ideology, and abortion

  • Marshall H. Medoff
  • Christopher Dennis
  • Benjamin G. Bishin
Articles

Abstract

The median voter model is widely used in the public choice literature to explain legislator's behavior. According to the model, if voter preferences are unimodal, a vote-maximizing legislator should mirror the position of the median voter. However, the median voter model has not been tested on bimodal issues. This paper fills this critical void by empirically testing the applicability of the median voter model on an issue which clearly meets the criteria for being bimodal: abortion. Using a variety of attitudinal measures from large sample public opinion polls and constituency demographics, this study finds that Senate voting on the 1994 Freedom of Abortion Access bill was highly related to the senator's personal characteristics—especially ideology—and not to constituent opinion or demographics.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. ADA Today, 49, 1, March 1994, pp. 1–12.Google Scholar
  2. Barone, Michael; Ujifusa, Grant.The Almanac of American Politics 1994, Washington, DC: National Journal, 1993.Google Scholar
  3. Bernstein, Robert A.Elections, Representation, and Congressional Voting Behavior, Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1989.Google Scholar
  4. Congressional Record, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1994.Google Scholar
  5. Downs, Anthony.An Economic Theory of Democracy, New York, NY: Harper and Row, 1957.Google Scholar
  6. Gohmann, Stephan F.; Ohsfeldt, Robert S. "Predicting State Abortion Legislation from U.S. Senate Votes,"Policy Studies Review, 9, Fall 1990, pp. 749–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Greene, William H.Econometric Analysis, 2d ed. New York: Macmillian Publishing Company, 1993.Google Scholar
  8. Heatwole, Charles A. "The Bible Belt: A Problem in Regional Definition,"Journal of Geography, 77, February 1978, pp. 50–5.Google Scholar
  9. Holcombe, Randall G. "The Median Voter Model in Public Choice Theory,"Public Choice, 61, May 1989, pp. 115–25.Google Scholar
  10. Jackson, John. E.; Kingdon, John W. "Ideology, Interest Group Scores, and Legislative Votes,"American Journal of Political Science 36, 3, August 1992, pp. 805–23.Google Scholar
  11. Jones, Ethel B. "ERA Voting: Labor Force Attachment, Marriage, and Religion,"Journal of Legal Studies, 12, January 1983, pp. 157–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kalt, Joseph P.; Zupan, Mark A. "Capture and Ideology in the Economic Theory of Politics,"American Economic Review, 74, 3, June 1984, pp. 279–300.Google Scholar
  13. Kau, James B; Rubin, Paul H. "Self-Interest, Ideology, and Logrolling in Congressional Voting,"Journal of Law and Economics, 22, October 1979, pp. 365–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Medoff, Marshall H. "Constituencies, Ideology, and the Demand for Abortion Legislation,"Public Choice, 60, February 1989, pp. 185–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pindyck, Robert S.; Rubinfeld, Daniel.Econometric Models and Economic Forecasts, 3rd ed., New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1991.Google Scholar
  16. Poole, Keith T.; Rosenthal, Howard. "Patterns of Congressional Voting,"American Journal of Political Science 35, 1, February 1991, pp. 228–78.Google Scholar
  17. Quinn, Bernard; Bradley, Martin; Goettinghall, Paul; Shriver, Peggy.Churches and Church Membership in the United States, 1990. Atlanta: Glenmary Research Center, 1992.Google Scholar
  18. Snyder, James M., Jr. "Artificial Extremism in Interest Group Ratings,"Legislative Studies Quarterly, 17, August 1992, pp. 319–45.Google Scholar
  19. U.S. Bureau of the Census,U.S. Census of the Population 1990, "Social and Economic Characteristics," Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  20. Voter Research And Surveys. Voter Research And Surveys General Election Exit Polls, 1992 (computer file). New York, NY: Voter Research and Surveys (producer), 1992. 2nd release. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-University Consortium for Social and Political Research (distribution), 1993.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Atlantic Economic Society 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marshall H. Medoff
    • 1
  • Christopher Dennis
    • 1
  • Benjamin G. Bishin
    • 2
  1. 1.California State UniversityLong Beach
  2. 2.University of CaliforniaLos Angeles

Personalised recommendations