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

See all articles by Paul S. Herrnson

Paul S. Herrnson

University of Maryland

Richard G. Niemi

University of Rochester

Kelly Patterson

State University of New York (SUNY) - Buffalo

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Herrnson, Paul S. and Niemi, Richard G. and Patterson, Kelly, Expectations and Satisfaction with the Voting Process in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election (2009). APSA 2009 Toronto Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1451251

Paul S. Herrnson (Contact Author)

University of Maryland ( email )

College Park
College Park, MD 20742
United States

Richard G. Niemi

University of Rochester ( email )

Box 270146
University of Rochester
Rochester, NY 14627-0146
United States
585-275-5364 (Phone)

Kelly Patterson

State University of New York (SUNY) - Buffalo ( email )

12 Capen Hall
Buffalo, NY 14222
United States

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