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One in a Million: Field Experiments on Perceived Closeness of the Election and Voter Turnout

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  • Alan Gerber
  • Mitchell Hoffman
  • John Morgan
  • Collin Raymond

Abstract

During the 2010 gubernatorial elections, we elicit voter beliefs about the closeness of the election before and after showing different polls, which, depending on treatment, indicate a close or not-close race. Subjects update their beliefs in response to polls, but overestimate the probability of a very close election. However, turnout is unaffected by beliefs about election closeness. A follow-up RCT, conducted during the 2014 gubernatorial elections at much larger scale, also points to little relationship between poll information about closeness and turnout. We caveat that the strength of our evidence depends on assumptions regarding our treatments' impacts on beliefs.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan Gerber & Mitchell Hoffman & John Morgan & Collin Raymond, 2020. "One in a Million: Field Experiments on Perceived Closeness of the Election and Voter Turnout," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 12(3), pages 287-325, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:12:y:2020:i:3:p:287-325
    DOI: 10.1257/app.20180574
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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