Editor's Choice: Measuring Candidate Quality using Local Newspaper Endorsements

28 May 2024, Version 3
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


I construct a measure of candidate quality differentials using local newspaper endorsements. I argue that political endorsements made by newspapers can be used as expert opinions that reflect both a newspaper's partisan bias as well as quality differences between the candidates in an election. Using a dataset of 21,094 local newspaper endorsements, I simultaneously estimate the quality differences between candidates in 6,432 elections, along with a dynamic measure of the partisan bias of 368 local newspapers. After validating the endorsement-based measures of quality and bias, I use the candidate quality differential measure to reexamine the relationship between candidate quality, incumbency, and election results. I conclude with a discussion of how the new endorsement-based measures have a strong potential to help advance our understanding of the importance of candidate quality in electoral politics and governance in the United States.


Electoral Politics
Candidate Quality
Newspaper Endorsements


Comments are not moderated before they are posted, but they can be removed by the site moderators if they are found to be in contravention of our Commenting Policy [opens in a new tab] - please read this policy before you post. Comments should be used for scholarly discussion of the content in question. You can find more information about how to use the commenting feature here [opens in a new tab] .
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy [opens in a new tab] and Terms of Service [opens in a new tab] apply.