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Can Where People Vote Influence How They Vote? The Influence of Polling Location Type on Voting Behavior

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  • Berger, Jonah

    (Stanford U)

  • Meredith, Marc
  • Wheeler, S. Christian

Abstract

Can the type of polling place in which people vote (e.g. church, school, or firehouse) influence how they cast their ballot? Results of two studies suggest it can. A field study using Arizona's 2000 general election found that voters were more likely to support raising the state sales tax to support education if they voted in schools, as opposed to other types of polling locations. This effect persisted even when controlling for voters' political views, demographics, and unobservable characteristics of those individuals living near schools. A voting experiment extended these findings to other initiatives (i.e. stem cells) and a case in which people were randomly assigned to different environmental primes (i.e. church-related, school-related or generic building images). The present studies reveal that even in noisy, real-world environments, subtle environmental cues can influence decisions on issues of real consequence.

Suggested Citation

  • Berger, Jonah & Meredith, Marc & Wheeler, S. Christian, 2006. "Can Where People Vote Influence How They Vote? The Influence of Polling Location Type on Voting Behavior," Research Papers 1926, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecl:stabus:1926
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    File URL: http://gsbapps.stanford.edu/researchpapers/library/RP1926.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Charles M. Tiebout, 1956. "A Pure Theory of Local Expenditures," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 64, pages 416-416.
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