Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1884579
 
 

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Sex and the Ballot Box: Perception of Ballot Measures Regarding Same-Sex Marriage and Abortion in California


Craig M. Burnett


Hofstra University

Mathew D. McCubbins


Duke University School of Law

July 17, 2012


Abstract:     
States with direct democracy routinely ask voters to modify their states’ laws and constitutions and to authorize the raising of billions of dollars in bonds and taxes. In recent elections, voters in many American states have also voted on important social policies that redefine civil liberties within their state. Do voters know enough about these social policies to make an informed decision? The common wisdom is that when choosing between candidates, voters rely on information shortcuts in lieu of extensive knowledge about the issues. Unlike candidate elections, however, ballot measures lack some useful information shortcuts such as party identification. Using data from an election survey, we test the hypothesis that voters use shortcuts to make reasoned decisions on two ballot measures central to today’s policy debates: California’s Proposition 4 (2008) on parental notification for abortion and Proposition 8 (2008) on same-sex marriage. We show that voters do not use cues universally, and furthermore, the amount of factual information a voter possesses has almost no effect on her decisions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 37

Keywords: Direct Democracy, Constitutional Initiatives, Voting, Proposition 8


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Date posted: July 14, 2011 ; Last revised: July 18, 2012

Suggested Citation

Burnett, Craig M. and McCubbins, Mathew D., Sex and the Ballot Box: Perception of Ballot Measures Regarding Same-Sex Marriage and Abortion in California (July 17, 2012). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1884579 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1884579

Contact Information

Craig M. Burnett (Contact Author)
Hofstra University ( email )
Hempstead, NY 11549
United States
HOME PAGE: http://people.hofstra.edu/craig_burnett

Mathew D. McCubbins
Duke University School of Law ( email )
210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

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