Predicting Left-Right Positions from Hand-Coded Content Analysis using Machine Learning


The Manifesto Project’s widely used left-right index of party policy positions (RILE), built from human-coded sentences from party manifestos, can be predicted using machine learning. We demonstrate this using some simple classifiers to show that using these conservative approaches as a baseline, performance is already as good as human coders. It works in multiple languages. Using transfer learning, we also show how a model trained on coded manifesto sentences can be used on new texts to predict left-right positions, and validate these with independent survey-based evidence.

Paper presented in Midwest Political Science Association conference (2019)
Patrick J. Chester
Patrick J. Chester
Phd Candidate (ABD)

Patrick Chester is a PhD candidate at New York University’s Politics Department.