Expectations and Satisfaction with the Voting Process in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election
18 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2009 Last revised: 15 Oct 2009
Date Written: 2009
The 2000 presidential election brought intense scrutiny to the American election process, resulting in a number of significant reforms. Some changes involved overhauling rules for audits and other administrative procedures. Others involved the ways in which voters record their votes. The latter set of reforms raised questions about the type and quality of the experience voters would have at the polls on Election Day 2008, especially because of new technology voters would be required to use. Researchers and pundits alike worried that poor experiences at the polls would produce lower levels of confidence in the electoral process or a desire not to vote in subsequent elections. Using an innovative panel design and an internet-administered survey, we examine the type of experience voters had at the polls. Drawing insights from the organizational psychology and marketing research literatures on the impact of expectations on consumer satisfaction, the survey also measures the expectations voters had for their voting experience. The findings indicate that a full explanation of voter satisfaction with the voting experience needs to address both expectations and experiences of voters, as expectations condition the reaction of voters to their experiences at the polls.
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