Election Closeness and Voter Turnout: Evidence from California Ballot Propositions
This paper uses a new data set of 885 California ballot propositions from 1912 through 1990 to test the hypothesis that voter turnout increases as an election becomes closer. Various measures of voter participation are regressed on various measures of election closeness. The main finding is that there is not a systematic relation between closeness and turnout. Two conclusions are drawn: (1) voters are not sensitive to the probability their votes are decisive and (2) other studies that found higher turnout for close elections probably detected an increased mobilization of party elites in tight races. Copyright 1993 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
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