Research-teaching project: Bavarian University Election Study 18 (BUES 18)

Universitätsstudie Bayernwahl 2018 (USBW18)

 

In 2018, three Bavarian universities (LMU Munich, Passau, Regensburg) launched the Bavarian University Election Study 18 (BUES 18). The study consists of three different survey modes: exit polls, CATI, and an online panel. The main objective of the study is to estimate voter transitions in Bavarian state and German parliamentary elections. In addition, the study seeks to understand swing motives, i.e., the reasons why Bavarian voters decide to swing their votes between the 2013 and 2018 Bavarian state elections.

 

Research Interests


Political behavior and political methodology, policy-based voting and party competition, mass opinion and preference formation, regression for categorical data and discrete choice modeling

 

 

Publications


Mauerer, I. & Schneider, M. (forthcoming). Perceived Party Placements and Uncertainty on Immigration in the 2017 German Election. Jahrbuch für Handlungs- und Entscheidungstheorie Band 11, 2018: Springer, VS.

 

Almost all national election studies contain policy scales that are intended to measure where respondents perceive parties or candidates on central campaign issues. These placements form the basis for models of survey responses, party perceptions, and voter choice. It is well known that the placements might be affected by uncertainty. We use the finite mixture model `BetaBin' to study response patterns to party placements on policy issues. The model consists of a placement part and an uncertainty part. Whereas the placement part of the model accounts for lower and higher placements on the ordinal scales, the uncertainty component accounts for tendencies to locate the parties on the middle or at the extremes of the policy scales. We use the 2017 German national election (Study-No. ZA6800, GLES 2017, Cologne: GESIS Data Archive) and apply the model to the immigration issue. Our results demonstrate that uncertainty strongly influences the respondents' perceptions of most parties. Neglecting this structure leads to worse models as indicated by performance measures.


Mauerer, I., Pößnecker, W., Thurner, P. W., & Tutz, G. (2015). Modeling Electoral Choices in Multiparty Systems with High-Dimensional Data: A Regularized Selection of Parameters Using the Lasso Approach. Journal of Choice Modelling 16: 23-42. doi: 10.1016/j.jocm.2015.09.004

 

The increased usage of discrete choice models in the analysis of multiparty elections faces one severe challenge: the proliferation of parameters, resulting in high-dimensional and difficult-to-interpret models. For example, the application of a multinomial logit model in a party system with J parties results in maximally J−1 parameters for chooser-specific attributes (e.g., sex and age). For the specification of alternative-specific attributes (usually: positions on issues and issue distances), maximally J parameters for each political issue can be estimated. Thus, a model of party choice with five parties based on three political issues and ten voter attributes already produces 59 possible coefficients. As soon as we allow for interaction effects to detect segment-specific reactions to issues, the situation is even aggravated. In order to systematically and efficiently identify relevant predictors in voting models, we derive and use Lasso-type regularized parameter selection techniques that take into account both individual- and alternative-specific variables. Most importantly, our new algorithm can handle for the first time the alternative-wise specification of the attributes of alternatives. Applying the specifically adjusted Lasso method to the 2009 German Parliamentary Election, we demonstrate that our approach massively reduces the models' complexity and simplifies their interpretation. Lasso-penalization clearly outperforms the simple ML estimator. The results are illustrated by innovative visualization methods, the so-called effect star plots.


Mauerer, I., Thurner, P. W., & Debus, M. (2015). Under Which Conditions do Parties Attract Voters’ Reactions to Issues? Party-Varying Issue Voting in German Elections 1987-2009. West European Politics 38(6): 1251–1273. doi: 10.1080/01402382.2015.1026562

 

Are voters’ choices influenced by parties’ position-taking and communication efforts on issues during a campaign? And if so, do voters’ reactions to issues differ across parties? This article outlines a research design for the statistical identification of party-varying issue reactions within the established paradigm of the Spatial Theory of Voting. Using a special feature of conditional logit and probit models – i.e. the estimation of alternative-specific coefficients instead of fixed ‘generic’ issue distance effects – it is possible to detect asymmetrically attached issue saliencies at the level of the voters, and hence at the demand-side of politics. This strategy opens a new way to systematically combine insights obtained by saliency approaches with the Spatial Theory of Voting. An application to the German parliamentary elections from 1987 to 2009 demonstrates that it is predominantly parties taking polar positions – and, more specifically, niche parties taking polar positions – that induce such asymmetric issue voting.


Thurner, P. W., Mauerer, I., & Binder, M. (2011). Parteienspezifisches Issue Voting bei den Bundestagswahlen 2002 bis 2009. In Wählen in Deutschland. Politische Vierteljahresschrift, Sonderheft 45, 302-320, ed. R. Schmitt-Beck. Baden-Baden: Nomos. [Link]

Book Projects


Mauerer, I. & Thurner, P. W. Applied Conditional Logit, Nested Logit and Mixed Logit Models. SAGE Series on Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences. To be published in 2020, January.


Mauerer, I. A Party-Varying Model of Issue-Voting. A Cross-National Study. Dissertation, LMU Munich. 

 

 

Talks and Conference Presentations


Mauerer, I. (2018, September). The Neglected Role and Variability of Party Intercepts in the Spatial Valence Approach: An Assessment. Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES).

 

Mauerer, I. (2018, August). Measuring Voters' Party-Issue Linkages in Parliamentary Elections. Paper presented at the EPCR General Conference, Hamburg.

 

Thurner, P.W., Bort, M., Mauerer, I., Klima, A. & Küchenhoff, H. (2018, August). Voter Transitions in the 2015 British General Election: Combining Online Panels and Aggregate Data at the Constituency Level. EPCR General Conference, Hamburg.

 

Mauerer, I. (2018, June). Measuring Voters' Party-Issue Linkages in Parliamentary Elections. Paper presented at the European Political Science Association (EPSA), Vienna, Austria.

 

Mauerer, I., Thurner, P. W. & Walter, A. S. (2017, September). Taking Ballots Seriously: Modeling Heterogeneous Choice Sets in the 2015 British Elections. Paper presented at the Elections, Public Opinion and Parties (EPOP) specialist group, Nottingham, UK.

 

Mauerer, I. (2017, July).  A Party-Varying Model of Issue Voting: A Cross-National Study. Workshop on New Developments in Spatial Models of Party Competition; organized by Bernard Grofman, Susumu Shikano, Konstantin Käppner, University of Konstanz.


Mauerer, I., Thurner, P. W. & Walter, A. S. (2017, April). Taking Real Ballots Seriously: Modeling Heterogeneous Choice Sets in the 2015 UK Elections. Paper presented at the 75th Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), Chicago, IL, USA.


Mauerer, I. (2016, April). Modeling Heterogeneity in Issue Voting: A Mixed Logit for Spatial Issue Voting Models. Paper presented at the University of Málaga (UMA), Department of Economics, Spain.


Mauerer, I. (2015, June). Heterogeneity in Issue Voting: Applying the Mixed Logit to the Spatial Issue Voting Model. Paper presented at the 5th Annual General Conference of the European Political Science Association (EPSA), Chair of the Panel ”Issue Voting”, Vienna, Austria.


Mauerer, I. (2015, April). Heterogeneity in Spatial Models of Issue Voting. Paper presented at the 73rd Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), Chicago, IL, USA.


Mauerer, I. (2014, July). A Cross-National Study of Issue Voting. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Department of Statistics (LMU), Holzhausen.


Mauerer, I., Pößnecker, W., Thurner, P. W., & Tutz, G. (2014, June). Modeling Electoral Choices in Multiparty Systems with High-Dimensional Data: A Regularized Selection of Parameters Using the Lasso Approach. Paper presented at the 4th Annual General Conference of the European Political Science Association (EPSA), Edinburgh, Scotland.


Mauerer, I., Pößnecker, W., Thurner, P. W., & Tutz, G. (2014, April). Modeling Electoral Choices in Multiparty Systems with High-Dimensional Data: A Regularized Selection of Parameters Using the Lasso Approach. Paper presented at the 72nd Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), Chicago, IL, USA.


Mauerer, I. (2013, June). The Conditionality of Issue Voting in a Comparative Perspective. Paper presented at the 3rd Annual General Conference of the European Political Science Association (EPSA), Barcelona, Spain.


Mauerer, I. (2013, April). The Conditionality of Issue Voting in a Comparative Perspective. Paper presented at the 71st Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), Chicago, IL, USA.


Mauerer, I., Thurner, P. W., & Prokopf, S. (2013, April). Issue Distances, Alienation, and Indifference in a Simultaneous Model of Party Choice and Abstention: An Application to German Elections 1987-2009. Roundtable at the 71st Annual Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA), Chicago, IL, USA.


Mauerer, I., Thurner, P. W., & Prokopf, S. (2013, March). Alienation and Indifference in a Multiparty System with Coalition Governments and Ticket Splitting. Paper presented at the 41st ECPR Joint Sessions of Workshops, University of Mainz.


Mauerer, I. (2012, July). Issue-Voting bei Deutschen Bundestagswahlen. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Department of Statistics (LMU), Herrsching.