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Revista de ciencia política (Santiago)

versión On-line ISSN 0718-090X

Rev. cienc. polít. (Santiago) v.22 n.2 Santiago  2002 

Revista de Ciencia Política / Volumen XXI / Nº 2 / 2002 / 3-16



A Micro Application of The Spatial

Theory of Voting*


Claudio Bonilla

CEDIEM, Universidad Diego Portales



Este trabajo, investiga las características político espaciales de Chile durante el año 2001. El autor construyó mapas espaciales del año 2001 y, los comparó con los de 1989, obteniendo interesantes resultados. Primero, el radicalismo político de los años ochentas ha desaparecido desde la perspectiva del votante. Segundo, al actitud pro mercado, adoptada por el Partido por la Democracia (PPD) en algunos tópicos particulares (partido cuyas raíces se encuentran en la izquierda) ha llevado a sus candidatos a situarse a la derecha de algunos Demócrata Cristianos, situación impensable veinte años atrás.


* I Thank Don Fulleton, Li Gan, Vince Geraci and specially Mel Hinich for helpful comments on this paper. I am responsible for all errors.


1 I will explain this methodology later in the paper.


2 I keep academic distance from the political and social reasons that led to the military coup.


3 Under Chilean electoral law, if a candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, that candidate wins the election. Otherwise a second round between the two most voted candidates in the first round is required.


4 Pinochet spent 503 days detained in London waiting to be extradited to Spain. He was not extradited at the end.


5 As an example, even though the PPD belongs to the incumbent coalition, it appears as a party in opposition to the government when it comes to some public policies. Voters, instead of taking this as an inconsistency, take it as a sign of independence of opinion.


6 District 20 corresponds to the Municipalities of Maipú, Cerrilos and Estación Central.


7 I thank Jorge González for providing the data


8 Mostly middle class people quite representative of the average chilean voter compose this District.


9 The case of r=1 is used here for some intuition, but to make my results comparable with those of González (2000) I use r=2 when running the program.


10 The subscript is dropped because we take the expected value across voters, which are a random sample.


11 Factor analysis techniques are explained in Morrison (1976: chapter 9).


12 A faction of the center-left coalition that wants to be differentiated from the traditional left uses the term “progressive” in Chile. They claim to support the idea of a free market economy with limited government intervention.


13 The Alianza is the center-right coalition composed by National Renewal and the Democratic Independent Union (RN and UDI). Even though AP does not belong to any particular party, he is associated with the right.


14 The reformist candidates provide a change from the status quo. This change can be thought of as a way to get rid of all the vicious practices associated with any incumbent government (e.g. corruption).


15 Again, a high proportion of voters’ ideal point are closest to EF, therefore, independence of irrelevant alternatives is not violated.


16 Chile does not have a divorce law.


17 In the last years UDI has penetrated into the lower class electorate.


18 The scale used to construct the maps is not important. It depends on the range of the thermometer scores. The relative position of the candidates in the spatial dimensions is important.


19 Actually “the Change” was the slogan that JL used in his presidential campaign in 1999.


20 Another example in which the second dimension took a particular meaning is the 1993 Canadian general election. In that election the issue of “Quebec Sovereignty” arose in the middle of the campaign and became the second most important factor for voters in that particular election (see Hinich and Munger [1997]).


21 The US is a more homogeneous case. Two big parties are the only contenders and even though they differ in some aspects, we can consider them very similar for international standards.




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