Can Where People Vote Influence How They Vote? The Influence of Polling Location Type on Voting Behavior

Stanford GSB Research Paper No. 1926

40 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2006

See all articles by Jonah A. Berger

Jonah A. Berger

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department

Marc N. Meredith

Independent

S. Christian Wheeler

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Date Written: February 2006

Abstract

Can the type of polling place in which people vote (e.g. church, school, or firehouse) influence how they cast their ballot? Results of two studies suggest it can. A field study using Arizona's 2000 general election found that voters were more likely to support raising the state sales tax to support education if they voted in schools, as opposed to other types of polling locations. This effect persisted even when controlling for voters' political views, demographics, and unobservable characteristics of those individuals living near schools. A voting experiment extended these findings to other initiatives (i.e. stem cells) and a case in which people were randomly assigned to different environmental primes (i.e. church-related, school-related or generic building images). The present studies reveal that even in noisy, real-world environments, subtle environmental cues can influence decisions on issues of real consequence.

Keywords: Decision Making, Voting, Environmental Cues, Political Economy

JEL Classification: P16

Suggested Citation

Berger, Jonah A. and Meredith, Marc N. and Wheeler, S. Christian, Can Where People Vote Influence How They Vote? The Influence of Polling Location Type on Voting Behavior (February 2006). Stanford GSB Research Paper No. 1926. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=890660 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.890660

Jonah A. Berger (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Marketing Department ( email )

700 Jon M. Huntsman Hall
3730 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6340
United States

Marc N. Meredith

Independent

No Address Available

S. Christian Wheeler

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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