Political Behavior

, Volume 32, Issue 4, pp 547–565 | Cite as

How Sophistication Affected The 2000 Presidential Vote: Traditional Sophistication Measures Versus Conceptualization

  • Herbert F. WeisbergEmail author
  • Steven P. Nawara


The 2000 Presidential vote is modeled using voter sophistication as a source of heterogeneity. Three measures of sophistication are employed: education, knowledge, and the levels of conceptualization. Interacting them with vote predictors shows little meaningful variation. However, removing the assumption of ordinality from the levels of conceptualization uncovers considerable heterogeneity in the importance of the vote predictors in explaining the vote. Thus, different sophistication measures should not be treated as equivalent, nor combined as if they are equivalent. Few of the issue and candidate components are relevant to those with a less sophisticated understanding of politics. The opposite partisan attachments of the two most sophisticated groups suggest that sophistication’s impact on the vote can be confounded by partisanship.


Voter sophistication Level of conceptualization 2000 presidential election Vote models Education effects Political knowledge 



We appreciate the helpful comments of Paul Goren and Howard Lavine. We also thank William Jacoby for allowing us to use the levels of conceptualization coding for 2000.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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