Deducing preferences and choices in the 1980 presidential election

Steven J. Brams, Peter C. Fishburn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    A rational-choice model of voting behavior provides a framework for statistically estimating the numbers of voters who had each of twelve possible strict and nonstrict preference orders for the three major candidates in the 1980 presidential election. These estimates, based upon explicit assumptions about voting behavior, lead to a number of deductions not obtained in previous studies that have defined rationality in terms of 'issue voting'. Among other results, John Anderson is found to have both first-place and residual support far in excess of his popular-vote showing, from which it is inferred that he would have seriously challenged the major-party candidates under approval voting. Yet, there is not strong evidence that voter's preferences were single-peaked, with Anderson perceived as the candidate in the middle on a left-right ideological scale.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)333-346
    Number of pages14
    JournalElectoral Studies
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Dec 1982

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Political Science and International Relations


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