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Durham University

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Publication details for Professor Nick Vivyan

Hanretty, Chris, Lauderdale, Benjamin E. & Vivyan, Nick (2020). A Choice-Based Measure of Issue Importance in the Electorate. American Journal of Political Science 64(3): 519-535.

Author(s) from Durham


Measuring how much citizens care about dierent policy issues is critical for political scientists,
yet existing measurement approaches have signicant limitations. We provide a new surveyexperimental,
choice-based approach for measuring the importance voters attach to dierent
positional issues, including issues not currently contested by political elites. We combine information
from (i) direct questions eliciting respondents’ positions on dierent issues with (ii) a
conjoint experiment asking respondents to trade-o departures from their preferred positions
on those issues. Applying this method to study the relative importance of 34 issues in the UK,
we show that British voters attach signicant importance to issues like the death penalty which
are not presently the subject of political debate and attach more importance to those issues
associated with social liberal-conservative rather than economic left-right divisions.