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Partisanship and Voter Confidence, 2000-2010

Midwest Political Science Association, 2012

MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2012-12

51 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2012 Last revised: 17 May 2012

Michael Sances

University of Memphis - Department of Political Science

Charles Stewart III

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science

Date Written: April 5, 2012

Abstract

We ask, to what degree is voter confidence in the fairness and trustworthiness of election procedures driven by a respondent’s satisfaction with the outcome of an election, as opposed to more general trust in government or objective features of the polling place, such as voting technology? Using data drawn from approximately 30 national public opinion surveys conducted over the past decade, we find that there is a consistent relationship between voting for the winning candidate and the degree of confidence expressed in election administration. However, this confidence varies as a function of question wording and electoral context. Respondents are generally more confident in the quality of the vote count locally than nationally. They are responsive to electoral results at the state and national levels in forming their judgments. And, rather than being reassured by or distrustful of different types of voting machines (paper vs. DREs), respondents appear to lose confidence in elections by virtue of change itself.

Suggested Citation

Sances, Michael and Stewart III, Charles, Partisanship and Voter Confidence, 2000-2010 (April 5, 2012). Midwest Political Science Association, 2012; MIT Political Science Department Research Paper No. 2012-12. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2035513

Michael Sances

University of Memphis - Department of Political Science ( email )

United States

Charles Stewart III (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Political Science ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

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