The Complexity of Campaigning

Cory Siler, Luke Harold Miles, Judy Goldsmith

In "The Logic of Campaigning", Dean and Parikh consider a candidate making campaign statements to appeal to the voters. They model these statements as Boolean formulas over variables that represent stances on the issues, and study optimal candidate strategies under three proposed models of voter preferences based on the assignments that satisfy these formulas. We prove that voter utility evaluation is computationally hard under these preference models (in one case, #P-hard), along with certain problems related to candidate strategic reasoning. Our results raise questions about the desirable characteristics of a voter preference model and to what extent a polynomial-time-evaluable function can capture them.

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