Partisanship and Voter Confidence, 2000-2012
Working Paper No.:  125
Date Published:  2014-06-01


Michael W. Sances, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Charles Stewart III, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


To what degree is voter confidence in election procedures driven by satisfaction with the outcome of an election, as opposed to trust in government or objective features of the polling place, such as voting technology? Using approximately 30 national surveys over the past decade, we find a consistent relationship between voting for the winner and confidence in election administration. This confidence varies as a function of question wording and electoral context. Respondents are more confident in the quality of the vote count locally than nationally. They are responsive to electoral results at the state and national levels in forming their judgements. And, rather than being influenced by different types of voting technology, respondents lose confidence by virtue of change itself.


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