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Exploiting Friends-and-Neighbors to Estimate Coattail Effects ∗

By Marc Meredith

Abstract

Federalist democracies often hold concurrent elections for multiple offices. A potential consequence of simultaneously voting for multiple offices that vary with respect to scope and scale is that the personal appeal of candidates in a high-profile race may affect electoral outcomes in less salient races. In this paper I estimate the magnitude of such coattail effects from governors onto other concurrently elected statewide executive officers using a unique data set of county election returns for all statewide executive office elections in the United States from 1987 to 2010. I exploit the disproportionate support that candidates receive from geographically proximate voters, which is often referred to as the friends-and-neighbors vote, to isolate variation in the personal appeal of candidates. The point estimates from my preferred specifications show that a one-percentage-point increase in the personal vote received by a gubernatorial candidate increases their party’s secretary of state and attorney general candidates vote shares by 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points. In contrast, personal votes for a secretary of state or attorney general candidate have no effect on the performance of their party’s gubernatorial candidate or other down-ballot candidates

Year: 2013
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.352.6194
Provided by: CiteSeerX
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