Getting it Right or Playing it Safe? Correct Voting, Confusion and the Status Quo Bias in Direct Democracy

33 Pages Posted: 3 Sep 2009

See all articles by Mike Binder

Mike Binder

University of California, San Diego; Stanford University

Date Written: September 1, 2009

Abstract

Vote choice in initiative races is typically discussed in terms of "yes" and "no" votes, and confusion is widely regarded as contributing to an increase in "no" votes. Using data from two San Diego, California exit polls in 2008 and the Washington Poll in 2007, I present an analysis that provides no consistent support for the claim that confusion leads to more "no" votes. Another method of exploring vote choice investigates correct voting, defined as voting in line with one's preferences. Though confusion does not consistently lead to "no" votes, confusion does lead to more incorrect votes and inhibits the ability of citizens to match their votes with their preferences. On a positive note, endorsements are shown to enable voters to better align their preferences with the choices they face on the ballot.

Keywords: direct democracy, voting, correct voting, initiatives, confusion, cues, short cuts, heuristics

Suggested Citation

Binder, Mike, Getting it Right or Playing it Safe? Correct Voting, Confusion and the Status Quo Bias in Direct Democracy (September 1, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1465780 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1465780

Mike Binder (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
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La Jolla, CA 92093-0521
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.mikembinder.com

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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