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Party Labels and Vote Choice in Judicial Elections

34 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2012 Last revised: 22 Jul 2014

Craig M. Burnett

Hofstra University

Lydia Brashear Tiede

University of Houston - Department of Political Science

Date Written: June 19, 2014

Abstract

The vast majority of states use elections to select at least some of their judges. The chief institutional variation in these contests is whether the candidates’ partisanship appears on the ballot. This paper expands on the extant literature with new data to examine how providing a party label influences voters’ decisions. Using a survey experiment involving a low visibility state appellate court, we find that affixing party labels to judicial candidates often helps our subjects select the candidate who is most aligned with their own party attachment and with their policy interests — an outcome that is especially notable for self-identified independents. We also show that the presence of party labels reduces the effect of another cue, gender. The results add context to the debate over the merits and drawbacks of partisan versus nonpartisan elections.

Keywords: judicial elections, nonpartisan elections, information shortcuts, gender cue, cues, party identification

Suggested Citation

Burnett, Craig M. and Tiede, Lydia Brashear, Party Labels and Vote Choice in Judicial Elections (June 19, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2185500 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2185500

Craig Burnett (Contact Author)

Hofstra University ( email )

Hempstead, NY 11549
United States

HOME PAGE: http://people.hofstra.edu/craig_burnett

Lydia Tiede

University of Houston - Department of Political Science ( email )

Houston, TX 77204
United States

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