Adaptive Parties in Spatial Elections
Ken Kollman, John H. Miller, and Scott E. Page
Key Words:
Spatial voting, adaptive parties, elections
We develop a model of two-party spatial elections that departs from the standard model in three respects: parties' information about voters' preferences is limited to polls; parties can be either office-seeking or ideological; and parties are not perfect optimizers, that is, they are modeled as boundedly rational adaptive actors. We employ computer search algorithms to model the adaptive behavior of parties and show that three distinct search algorithms lead to similar results. Our findings suggest that convergence in spatial voting models is robust to variations in the intelligence of parties. We also find that an adaptive party in a complex issue space may not be able to defeat a well-positioned incumbent.