[EM] Toy election model: 2D IQ (ideology/quality) model

Kathy Dopp kathy.dopp at gmail.com
Sun Nov 6 13:12:05 PST 2011

> From: Jameson Quinn <jameson.quinn at gmail.com>
> To: EM <election-methods at lists.electorama.com>

> Here's a toy model where the math is easy and you can get some interesting
> results.
> -Voters are distributed evenly from [-1, 1] along the ideology dimension.
> -Candidates are represented by an ordered pair (i,q) where i is an ideology
> from -1 to 1 and q is a quality from 0 to 2.

Such a one-dimensional ideology dimension grossly  over-simplifies
IMO.In reality, people do not line up along a simple one ideology
dimension.  Political scientists tend to oversimplify, beginning with
Anthony Downs.  The mathematics could take into account more than one
issue position or dimension when using spatial geometry to model how
close voters and candidates are to each other.  It's on my to-do list
to write up a far more logically coherent way of using spatial
analysis of positions of voters and candidates that would essentially
unify much of the field of voting behavior research -- although
political scientists seem to enjoy carrying on the same debates
endlessly rather than deriving new theory on what they agree on.
Condensing reality down to one ideological dimension, even adding one
quality dimension, grossly distorts the more complex picture of
reality.  A unidimensional model cannot even accurately model how
three different persons, say candidates, stand on two different issues
relative to each other or to voters.  I think Downs basic approach
makes sense only if his mathematics is repaired to respond to the
multi-dimensional nature of the real world.


Kathy Dopp
Town of Colonie, NY 12304
"One of the best ways to keep any conversation civil is to support the
discussion with true facts."
"Renewable energy is homeland security."

Fundamentals of Verifiable Elections

View some of my research on my SSRN Author page:

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