"It's the electability, stupid" - or maybe not? Electability, substance, and strategic voting in presidential primaries


Journal Article

In an experiment that tests the effects of different information on the role of electability and policy considerations in people's evaluations of presidential candidates, we find that both substance and electability affect those assessments. In the context of the 2004 Democratic presidential primary, evaluations of candidates by more politically sophisticated partisans were affected by the experimental treatment that mentioned the traditional Democratic issue of social security, whereas less sophisticated respondents were more affected by the issue treatment that mentioned the economy. Because both groups were affected by positive electability information, we find some evidence of strategic considerations in voters' decision-making processes. In contrast to complaints that citizens do not use substantive information when assessing candidates in presidential nomination campaigns, we find that presidential primary candidates' electability and issue emphases both matter. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rickershauser, J; Aldrich, JH

Published Date

  • June 1, 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 26 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 371 - 380

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0261-3794

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.electstud.2006.09.003

Citation Source

  • Scopus