Monthly Archives: May 2008

Is Voting Contagious? Evidence from Two Field Experiments

This “contagion effect” has a stronger effect on turnout than education, income, or age. Nowhere will you find a human relationship associated with more similarities in voting behavior than you will find between a husband and wife. But what causes husbands and wives to embrace similar ideologies, issue positions, and turnout rates? Maybe it’s just […]

Social Pressure and Voter Turnout: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment

Suppose that the government made a habit of sending your neighbors a letter after every election, telling them whether or not you had bothered to vote. Would you be more likely to turn out? Suppose that the government made a habit of sending your neighbors a letter after every election, telling them whether or not […]

Vote Buying or Turnout Buying? Machine Politics and the Secret Ballot

Are we observing “vote buying” (as we usually assume) or “turnout buying”? The question isn’t merely academic; “vote buying” smacks of corruption, but “turnout buying” looks more like mobilization Suppose that the Republicans started knocking doors on your street offering you and your neighbors a new flatscreen television if you come out and vote for […]

Cycles in American National Electoral Politics, 1854-2006: Statistical Evidence and an Explanatory Model

In every case, he was startlingly correct; as predicted, the nation’s ideological mood reversed about every 15 years. In 1924, Arthur Schlesinger famously predicted that “Coolidge-style conservatism would last till about 1932.” Later, he added that the “prevailing liberal mood would run its course in about 1947.” In 1949, he predicted once again that “the […]

Framing Public Opinion in Competitive Democracies

The public wouldn’t get the policies it wants; it would get the policies it was duped into wanting. In a democracy, politicians and policy outcomes should be responsive to changes in public opinion. But what if politicians (or others, such as media commentators) were able to manipulate public opinion through propaganda or other, more subtle […]