Theoretical and empirical models describing how voters form perceptions of political candidates assume that such perceptions are independent of each other, even though decades of evidence in cognitive science have shown that context influences the perceptions of various stimuli. In this research note, we argue that such perceptions depend on the full range of available ideological platforms. Data from three survey experiments in Israel provide strong support for the hypothesis that voters consistently view candidates as more centrist when a more extreme candidate appears next to them on the ideological spectrum. Our results imply that voters consider the full spectrum of political actors when they form opinions about the ideological stance of any candidate, and the same pattern holds for the perception of the ideological position of parties.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017 The Author.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences (all)
- History and Philosophy of Science