Proximity voting in the 2010 U.S. House elections

Elizabeth N. Simas


Utilizing data that allows for the placement of both of the candidates running and voters on the same ideological scale, I model proximity voting in the 2010 House elections. I demonstrate that though the literature predominantly emphasizes partisanship and incumbency, relative distance from the candidates also plays a significant role in the voting decision. Additionally, I show that these proximity effects are conditional upon the type of candidate running and the individual's partisan attachment. In total, these results show that while the rates of partisan voting and incumbent victory are high in House elections, voters do consider ideological proximity and can punish candidates who take positions that are too far out of line.