Ansolabehere and Fiorina

Ansolabehere and Fiorina - Ansolabehere One natural...

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Ansolabehere One natural explanation findings that citizens do not have high political knowledge is that the responses to individual issue questions in surveys are plagued with large amounts of measurement error. Measurement error in surveys arises for a variety of reasons, including vague question wordings, vague response categories or categories that do not reflect the individual’s actual attitude, inattentiveness on the part of the respondent, and even typographical errors Theoretical models of measurement errors in surveys treat responses to individual questions, or items, as consisting of the true attitude plus random error. The standard model assumes that measurement error is inherent in the instrument or question and has the same structure throughout the population. Measurement error, then, originates from vague or confusing questions asked in the survey. Measurement error problems are problems of constraint (lack correlations among survey questions) and stability (lack correlations over time) They develop their model of measurement error from the perspective of constraint Lack of ideological constraint may take two distinct forms: 1. people have preferences on each dimension but the issues are unrelated. If there is no ideological constraint, then any survey item that taps a given dimension will be uncorrelated with any item that taps a different dimension. 2. most people have no attitudes or opinions at all on most issues; their answers are just noise. Under high degree of constraint: only one ideological dimension underlies most issues preferences. In this case, one can think of survey items as different alternatives along a single dimension or line, Measurement error is a problem in individual survey questions, but taking multiple problems and measuring can dramatically reduce this error (like The Rational Voter?)
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