Presidential candidate issue ambiguity in the primary and general election
Fazzari, Justin Dean
MetadataShow full item record
The theory of candidate ambiguity predicts that presidential candidates are strategically unambiguous and once they advance to the general election they utilize an ambiguous message strategy. This strategy during the primaries and general election is aimed at distinguishing themselves from the other candidates. Candidates’ general election strategy incorporates more ambiguity in their issue positions in order to appeal to a larger portion of the electorate. The purpose of this study is to test the theory of ambiguity that candidates’ use less ambiguous issue positions during the primaries and more ambiguous positions in the general election. The 1980 National Election Study is used to examine whether respondents receive more ambiguous messages in the general election and less ambiguous messages in the primary campaign. The results from the 1980 election do not provide support for the hypothesis. This may be due to the election that was chosen for analysis. Further research on elections with less well known candidates may reflect the existence of ambiguity in general election campaigns.