About the Society
Papers, Posters, Syllabi
Submit an Item
Polmeth Mailing List
Below results based on the criteria 'abortion'
Total number of records returned: 2
Is Abortion A Wedge Issue for Latino Voters?
Abrajano, Marisa A.
Alvarez, R. Michael
In 2000 both major parties courted the growing Latino vote. Republicans hoped to benefit among this group based on the party's pro-life position and the belief that Latinos tend to be ideologically conservative, and that Latinos, in general, are Catholic. We present evidence indicating that this strategy of appealing to Latinos based on George Bush's pro-life stance garnered him fewer votes from the Latino electorate than Republican strategists hoped. While our results confirm that abortion is influential on vote choice at the individual level, abortion's impact at the aggregate level is smaller. When we say abortion is influential at the individual level, we mean that an individual voter is affected by the candidate's position on abortion. The `effect' of abortion we talk about in this case is the change in the probability of a voter choosing Bush (or Gore) if the voter were to change his or her position on abortion while the candidates' positions on abortion remained fixed. However, at the aggregate level we are looking at what would happen if one or the other of the candidates changed his position on abortion. A change in Bush's position would affect all voters. However, abortion's relatively small aggregate level of influence when compared to its impact at the individual level is due to the fact that such a change of position by a candidate would cause him to win some Latino votes based on his abortion stance, and at the same time it would also cause him to lose Latino votes from those who have the opposite view of abortion. As such, when these Latino votes are aggregated, the overall impact of abortion on the total vote is minimal, because the two effects tend to cancel each other out. Our findings are the first we are aware of to measure this overall impact of abortion, though several previous studies (Abramowitz 1995, Alvarez and Nagler 1995 and 1998) have demonstrated the importance of abortion at the individual level. We expect our findings to be applicable to the entire electorate, not just Latinos.
Heterogeneity and Disperson in the Beta-Binomial Model
Count variables built up from sums of independent and identically distributed (IID) binary random variables can be easily modeled by the binomial distribution. But what happens to sums of binary random variables if they are not IDD? King (1989) and others have presented the Beta Binomial and Extended Beta Binomial distributions as a way of handling the overdispersion that results from heterogeneity. This model seems to work well for some examples such as the distribution of state by state totals like the number of school districts banning a book in a given year. Heterogeneity of book banning rates across states would produce overdispersion (greater variability than expected from a binomial model). But another obvious example, the heterogeneity among Senators in vote counts aggregated by roll call, cannot be directly modeled by the Beta Binomial models in the same way. In the toxicology literature, from which political scientists have borrowed the Beta Binomial models, the heterogeneity observed is across units (``litters"), not within. Under the most reasonable assumptions, heterogeneity among Senators in response probabilities either produces pure Binomial variation in vote counts or contributes to underdispersion from roll call to roll call. These results are shown analytically and by simulation. Then a preliminary analysis of data of this type -- repeated votes on abortion in the Senate from 1974 to 1994 -- is presented.