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Low-Information Voting: Evidence From Instant-Runoff Elections

Alvarez, R. Michael and Hall, Thad E. and Levin, Ines (2018) Low-Information Voting: Evidence From Instant-Runoff Elections. American Politics Research, 46 (6). pp. 1012-1038. ISSN 1532-673X.

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How do voters make decisions in low-information contests? Although some research has looked at low-information voter decision making, scant research has focused on data from actual ballots cast in low-information elections. We focus on three 2008 Pierce County (Washington) Instant-Runoff Voting (IRV) elections. Using individual-level ballot image data, we evaluate the structure of individual rankings for specific contests to determine whether partisan cues underlying partisan rankings are correlated with choices made in nonpartisan races. This is the first time that individual-level data from real elections have been used to evaluate the role of partisan cues in nonpartisan races. We find that, in partisan contests, voters make avid use of partisan cues in constructing their preference rankings, rank-ordering candidates based on the correspondence between voters’ own partisan preferences and candidates’ reported partisan affiliation. However, in nonpartisan contests where candidates have no explicit partisan affiliation, voters rely on cues other than partisanship to develop complete candidate rankings.

Item Type:Article
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Additional Information:© 2018 SAGE Publications. Article first published online: March 23, 2018; Issue published: November 1, 2018.
Subject Keywords:voting, low-information elections, Instant-Runoff Voting, ranked voting, partisan cues, information shortcuts
Issue or Number:6
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20181017-160331820
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Official Citation:Low-Information Voting: Evidence From Instant-Runoff Elections. R. Michael Alvarez, Thad E. Hall, and Ines Levin. American Politics Research. Vol 46, Issue 6, pp. 1012 - 1038. First Published March 23, 2018.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:90314
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:18 Oct 2018 16:33
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 20:24

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