Ryan D. Enos and Benjamin E. Lauderdale, “Recovering Vote by Race in Primary Elections”

 download pdf

Scholars know far less about voting behavior in primary elections than in general elec- tions, yet in the many parts of the country where one party dominates, it is primary elections that determine who holds office. Because of the absence of the party cue, the roles of race, income and education in voting behavior are potentially more varied and consequential in the context of primaries. For example, elections contested by multiple black candidates–typically in majority-black electorates–can show striking patterns of racial voting despite the apparent lack of any overt cue from the race of the candidate. Unfortunately, studying primary elections is difficult because polling is sparse and of low quality. In this paper, we begin an assessment of whether the use of a local ecologi- cal inference method based on geographically-weighted kernel regressions can facilitate systematic study of these unpolled elections. Our local ecological inference technique weakens the assumptions made by standard ecological inference methods in an intuitive way that is appropriate to political geography. We demonstrate the relative robustness of our local ecological estimates of support by race in a difficult case where the correct answer is known and standard ecological inference methods give spectacularly wrong estimates: the state-level vote by race for Barack Obama and John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. We then apply these methods to a pilot study of the 2000 Illinois 1st Congressional District primary between Barack Obama and Bobby Rush.

« Locating Supreme Court Opinions in Doctrine Space | Publications List | Legislator Characteristics, Constituency Characteristics, and Roll Call Voting »

About Me

I am a Professor of Political Science at University College London. I have been Head of Department from October 2021.

Recently, my research has focused on developing new designs for highly multidimensional survey experiments that enable us to better measure key concepts relevant to public opinion and political behaviour. This has included projects introducing new methods for measuring the relative importance of different issues to voters; the extent to which there are robust patterns in which kinds of political arguments are persuasive; public preferences over the composition of government spending; public attitudes towards alternative ways that governments raise tax revenues; the extent to which political disagreement can be ascribed to moral disagreement; and the relative perceived severity, and priority for government action, of different politically salient problems. In addition, I am working on a textbook on social science measurement, a book on the structure of public opinion and voter behaviour, and a project examining public attitudes to democracy in the UK.

Earlier in my career, my research was focused on the development of new methods for the measurement of political preferences from large observational survey, voting, network and text datasets. This work included applications to citizens, legislators and judges across the US, UK, EU and beyond.

I worked as a Senior Data Science Advisor to YouGov from 2016-2021 and was an Associate Editor of the American Political Science Review from 2016-2020. Before joining UCL, I worked at the London School of Economics as a Lecturer, Associate Professor, and Professor from 2011 to 2018.

Curriculum Vitae pdf



To receive updates from this site, you can subscribe to the RSS feed of all updates to the site in an RSS feed reader