Continue discussion on political behavior.
2012 Exit Polls
Discuss how the makeup of the electorate varies in
different elections and consider potential
Research example: Ballot Initiatives and Electoral Timing
Examine other forms of responsiveness
Sulkin and “issue uptake”
Demographics and Exit Polling
CNN – Infographics for each questions
New York Times – Can see historical trends and state-
Presidential Election results
Fox News - Result for every question (you can see the
number of respondents here.)
How Voters Decide
Explains 90% of vote choice among registered Democrats
True independents versus closet partisans
Examples of strong versus weak party ties
Driven largely by partisan shifts in the South (p.91)
Changing Voter Distributions by Election
Figure 4-2 in
Why do less
Changing Makeup of Voters
Turnout in the
How might an older group of voters during Midterms
affect election results?
Surge and Decline Theory
Excitement of a winning presidential campaign
attracts intermittent or peripheral voters. (DOL p.92)
How does their participation affect other candidates?
What happens in midterm election years?
Core voters remain
Challenges to surge and decline theory.
Jacobson and Kernell (1983) – “strategic politicians”
recognize that midterm years are often seen as good
years for the out party.
Surge and Decline Theory
From Bafumi, Erikson, Wlezien
(2010) “Balancing, Generic Polls,
and Midterm Congressional
Elections” Journal of Politics 72(3)
Ballot Initiatives and Electoral Timing
“Tell your friends: We lost because of timing, not
lack of public support.”
Scott Morgan – CA Proposition 19 Advocate (Legalization of
Conventional wisdom states that more conservative
voters participate in midterm elections.
This should have an even greater effect on direct
initiatives – where voters decide on specific policy
instead of candidates.
What policies might be particularly affected by this?
Following slides are from Hannah, Lee. 2013 “Ballot Initiatives and Electoral
Timing”, Unpublished. Parts of paper presented at 2011 and 2012 State Politics and
Morality Policy and Direct Democracy
Morality Policy by Category (N=254)
Does the timing of an election systematically affect
the results of ballot initiative campaigns?
Do the demographic differences in the electorate
between midterm and presidential elections affect
Why yes? Why no?
Do certain candidates provide favorable conditions, or
surges, for initiative campaigns?
Do popular liberal candidates affect the chances of a liberal
outcome on an initiative?
Do popular conservative candidates affect the chances of a
conservative outcome on an initiative.
In short, do popular presidential candidates provide a coat-tail
for the initiative campaign?
Defining Surge Elections
Type of Election Election
Margin of Victory Notes
1980 9.7 – Reagan (50.7); Carter (41.0)
1984 18.2 – Reagan (58.8); Mondale
1988 8.5 – Bush (53.4); Dukakis (45.6)
1996 8.5 – Clinton (49.2); Dole (40.7)
2008 7.2 – Obama (52.9); McCain (45.7)
1968-1976 --- *Candidates do not take unique stances on
1992 5.6 – Clinton (43.0); Bush (37.4) *Candidacy of Ross Perot complicates
Democratic surge arguments.
2000 -.6 – Bush (47.9-); Gore (48.5) *This margin is too close to be considered a
2004 2.4 – Bush (50.7); Kerry (48.3) *This margin is too close to be considered a
Model & Analysis
Dependent Variable - % Conservative Vote on an
Initiative Category Conservative
MI – Proposal 08-02 (2008) – Removes some
restrictions from embryonic stem cell research
Morality No (0) 52.6 100-52.6 = 47.4
AZ – Prop 202 (1998) – Allow federal office
candidates to declare position on abolition of
income tax and IRS, and have that appear on
Tax Yes (1) 45 45
Model – Logistic Regression
Midterm Election +
Special Election +
Gubernatorial Election -
Democratic Surge Election -
Republican Surge Election +
Dependent Variable: Conservative Outcome (1)
1- Full Model (254)
2- Model Excluding
3 - Model only Gaming
Liberal Effects Conservative Effects
State-level demographics have little effect on the odds of a
Timing matters (Model 2):
Odds of a conservative outcome is 1 to 4 in Democratic surge
Nearly 5 to 1 in Republican surge elections.
Interestingly, odds of a conservative outcome in gaming policy
decreases to nearly 1 to 10 in Republican surge elections.
Results are robust for:
Political culture (Elazar 1972).
Fixed-effects model controlling for states.
It is unlikely that the initiative process could be manipulated in
regards to timing.
Conservative outcomes are no more likely in midterm elections
and might even be less likely.
Results possibly due some combination of:
Increased initiative awareness in midterms (Smith 2001)
The ability of morality policy initiatives to increase turnout and interest
The increased mobilization potential of initiative campaigns during
midterms (Donovan et al. 2009).
Results suggest that initiative campaigns benefit from the coattails
of popular presidential candidates.
If we are trying to determine whether a legislator is
responsive to their constituents or not, what
evidence might we use to build a case?
Legislators as Representatives
Mayhew (1974) identifies three general categories of
activities that legislators use to express their
interests and promote reelection
Which aspect is Sulkin investigating?
“In short, elections can promote responsiveness not
just by serving as a mechanism through which
constituents can replace poorly performing
legislators, but also by providing an incentive for all
legislators to adapt their behavior in office to avoid a
challenge.” Sulkin (2005, p.25)