Early Voting Experiences and Habit Formation
27 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2019
Date Written: October 8, 2019
A large body of research in political science has shown that first-time voting experiences can have an important effect on subsequent turnout. The conventional view is that this effect is larger when individuals are first eligible for high salience elections. We challenge this view. Following research on the context-dependent nature of habit formation, we argue that there are reasons to expect that all elections should affect subsequent turnout for elections of the same type. Comparing individuals that differ in nothing but the level of salience of the first election they were eligible for (Presidential or midterm), we find empirical support for this expectation. Individuals are more likely to vote for, and be interested in, elections of the same level of salience of their first voting experience.
Keywords: Voting; Political Behavior; Elections; Habit; Causal Inference; Presidential Elections; Midterm Elections
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