Theories from psychology suggest that voters' perceptions of political positions depend on their non-policy related attitudes towards the candidates. A voter who likes (dislikes) a candidate will perceive the candidate's position as closer to (further from) his own than it really is. This is called projection. If voters' perceptions are not counterfactual and voting is based on perceived policy positions then projection gives generally liked candidates an incentive to be ambiguous. In this paper we extend the standard Downsian model in order to investigate under what conditions this incentive survives in the strategic setting of electoral competition.
Public Choice, 2009, Vol 141, Issue 1-2, p. 213-232
Faculty of Social Sciences; voter perception; projection