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“Did Ballot Order Matter at ‘The Epicenter’?” : An Evaluation of Candidate Ballot Order Effects in the 2004 Ohio Elections

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Abstract:

In Ohio, the so-called ‘Epicenter’ of the 2004 national elections, did the order in which presidential candidate names were read matter in the levels of support they received in telephone surveys?
Researchers conducting pre-election surveys by telephone often administer multiple forms of trial heat questions that rotate the order in which candidate names are presented. In Ohio, the University of Cincinnati’s Ohio Poll uses this practice because
1) codified directives mandate rotation of candidate order on Election Day ballots and 2) research has shown that formulating research designs sensitive to the potential for response order effects improves pre-election measures of voter preferences (see, e.g. Rademacher and Smith, 2001; Visser et al. 2000; Miller and Krosnick 1998).
In this research, we examine whether ballot order impacted voter preference distributions in telephone surveys conducted in a state widely portrayed as one of the key battlegrounds in the race for the presidency. During the 2004 election campaign the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Policy Research conducted telephone surveys designed to measure voter preferences in statewide races for president and U. S. Senate. These surveys included numerous ballot order experiments.
While the 2004 race for the presidency in Ohio was highly competitive, and received a great deal of campaign and media attention, the race for U.S. Senate was not competitive, and was relegated to the equivalent of a “down-ticket” race as a result. Analyses will examine the impact ballot order had on reported vote preferences in these two contests for president and U.S. Senate. In addition, we will also report the results of ballot order experiments in various types of races, including for president and U.S. Senate, conducted using the Ohio Poll in 2000 and 2002.

Author's Keywords:

ballot order effects; 2004 Ohio elections
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Association:
Name: American Association For Public Opinion Association
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http://www.aapor.org


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MLA Citation:

Rademacher, Eric., Minser, Jason. and Downing, Kim. "“Did Ballot Order Matter at ‘The Epicenter’?” : An Evaluation of Candidate Ballot Order Effects in the 2004 Ohio Elections" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association For Public Opinion Association, Fontainebleau Resort, Miami Beach, FL, <Not Available>. 2009-05-25 <http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p17226_index.html>

APA Citation:

Rademacher, E. , Minser, J. and Downing, K. "“Did Ballot Order Matter at ‘The Epicenter’?” : An Evaluation of Candidate Ballot Order Effects in the 2004 Ohio Elections" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Association For Public Opinion Association, Fontainebleau Resort, Miami Beach, FL <Not Available>. 2009-05-25 from http://www.allacademic.com/meta/p17226_index.html

Publication Type: Paper/Poster Proposal
Abstract: In Ohio, the so-called ‘Epicenter’ of the 2004 national elections, did the order in which presidential candidate names were read matter in the levels of support they received in telephone surveys?
Researchers conducting pre-election surveys by telephone often administer multiple forms of trial heat questions that rotate the order in which candidate names are presented. In Ohio, the University of Cincinnati’s Ohio Poll uses this practice because
1) codified directives mandate rotation of candidate order on Election Day ballots and 2) research has shown that formulating research designs sensitive to the potential for response order effects improves pre-election measures of voter preferences (see, e.g. Rademacher and Smith, 2001; Visser et al. 2000; Miller and Krosnick 1998).
In this research, we examine whether ballot order impacted voter preference distributions in telephone surveys conducted in a state widely portrayed as one of the key battlegrounds in the race for the presidency. During the 2004 election campaign the University of Cincinnati’s Institute for Policy Research conducted telephone surveys designed to measure voter preferences in statewide races for president and U. S. Senate. These surveys included numerous ballot order experiments.
While the 2004 race for the presidency in Ohio was highly competitive, and received a great deal of campaign and media attention, the race for U.S. Senate was not competitive, and was relegated to the equivalent of a “down-ticket” race as a result. Analyses will examine the impact ballot order had on reported vote preferences in these two contests for president and U.S. Senate. In addition, we will also report the results of ballot order experiments in various types of races, including for president and U.S. Senate, conducted using the Ohio Poll in 2000 and 2002.

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