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2008 Presidential Contenders: Where They Stand, What They’re (Not) Saying, and How They’re Framing the Issues
Unformatted Document Text:  Abstract On what issues did the candidates for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election agree or disagree during the long run for the White House? Did their attitudes converge or diverge? What issues were they ignoring? How did they reframe the issues to serve their own purposes? We coded the attitudes towards 27 topical issues of the top 6 Democratic and 6 Republican contenders for the 2008 U.S. presidential election (as of October 2007). These codes were publicly released through an educational website, which allowed users to match their own attitudes with the most like-minded candidate ( http://www.votehelp.org/ ). Our analysis of the attitudes of over 100,000 users shows that the more important the issue to voters, the more likely that the candidates will clearly define their issue positions. Cluster analysis reveals 4 distinct groups, which we term Liberals, Moderate Liberals, Social Conservatives, and Conservatives. We found that the issue positions of Social Conservatives and Conservatives are more divergent than that of Liberals and Moderated Liberals. 2

Authors: Soule, Suzanne., Nairne, Jennifer. and Iyer, Ravi.
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Abstract
On what issues did the candidates for the 2008 U.S. Presidential election agree or disagree
during the long run for the White House? Did their attitudes converge or diverge? What issues
were they ignoring? How did they reframe the issues to serve their own purposes? We coded the
attitudes towards 27 topical issues of the top 6 Democratic and 6 Republican contenders for the
2008 U.S. presidential election (as of October 2007). These codes were publicly released through
an educational website, which allowed users to match their own attitudes with the most like-
minded candidate (
). Our analysis of the attitudes of over 100,000 users
shows that the more important the issue to voters, the more likely that the candidates will clearly
define their issue positions. Cluster analysis reveals 4 distinct groups, which we term Liberals,
Moderate Liberals, Social Conservatives, and Conservatives. We found that the issue positions
of Social Conservatives and Conservatives are more divergent than that of Liberals and
Moderated Liberals.
2


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