Turnout in gubernatorial and senatorial primary and general elections in the South, 1922–90: A rational choice model of the effects of short-run and long-run electoral competition on relative turnout
Using data on non-presidential-year elections for governor and U.S. Senators in eight southern states over the period 1922– 1990, we provide a rational-choice-inspired model of the factors that should be expected to affect the relative levels of turnout in primaries as compared to general elections. Both V.O. Key and Anthony Downs have argued that voters will be more likely to participate in the elections in which they can most expect to be decisive. V.O. Key (1949) proposed that when general elections are usually lop-sided because of one-party dominance of a state's politics the primary of the dominant party of the state should have a higher turnout than the general election. Downs argued that turnout should be higher in competitive elections. Our modelling combines these ideas. We use as our dependent variable the ratio of primary to general election turnout in each year. We posit that this ratio will increase (1) the greater the degree of within-party competition in the primary (especially that within the dominant party of a state, if there is one), and (2) the weaker the degree of between party competition in the general election. In addition to election-specific effects, we also posit long-run effects, such that the ratio for the offices of governor and U.S. Senator will be affected not merely by the degrees of competition within and between parties specific to any given election, but also by the long-run trends in party competition. This hypothesis leads us to expect that, (3) in the South, with the rise of the Republican party, the ratio of primary to general election turnout should decline over time. All of our expectations about the links between turnout and competition are strongly supported. We argue that rational choice models of turnout perform quite well when we view them in a comparative statics perspective, rather than using them to make predictions about who will and who will not vote in any given election. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Richard Cebula, 2001. "The electoral college and voter participation: Evidence on two hypotheses," Atlantic Economic Journal, International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 29(3), pages 304-310, September.
- Jonathan Silberman & Garey Durden, 1975. "The rational behavior theory of voter participation," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 101-108, September.
- Mutsusaka, J.G. & Palda, F., 1991.
"The Downsian Voter Meets the Ecological Fallacy,"
91-30, Southern California - School of Business Administration.
- W. Crain & Donald Leavens & Lynn Abbot, 1987. "Voting and not voting at the same time," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 53(3), pages 221-229, January.
- Richard Cebula & Dennis Murphy, 1980. "The Electoral College and voter participation rates: An exploratory note," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 35(2), pages 185-190, January.
- Glazer, A., 1991. "Political Equilibrium Under Group Identification," Papers 90-91-08, California Irvine - School of Social Sciences.
- James Kau & Paul Rubin, 1976. "The electoral college and the rational vote," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 101-107, September.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:94:y:1998:i:3:p:407-421. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla)or (Rebekah McClure)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.