The Informational Situation of Voters
Posted by The Situationist Staff on April 19, 2011
* * *
Survey researchers and political pundits bemoan the lack of political information within the American electorate. Not only do Americans fail to meet the democratic ideals of an informed electorate, but this lack of knowledge also has political consequences. An empirical analysis of survey data finds that informed voters are more likely to vote for Republican candidates; however, these correlational findings may be plagued by reverse causation and omitted variable bias. We present a model of an election with uninformed voters and experimentally test the effect of political information. Our results suggest that the lack of information in the American electorate typically biases election results toward the Republican Party. When uninformed citizens receive political information, they systematically shift away from the Republican Party.
* * *
Download the paper for free here.
Related Situationist posts:
- Reporting Social Facts vs. Pining for Jim Crow: No Comparison Between Reid and Lott
- Racial Attitudes in the Presidential Race
- “The Situation of Pollworkers and Voting Booths – Abstract,”
- “The Racial Situation of Voting,”
- “The Interior Situation of Undecided Voters,”
- “On Being a Mindful Voter,”
- “Implicit Associations in the 2008 Presidential Election,”
- “The Situation of Political Animals,” and
- “Your Brain on Politics.”