Experiments to reduce the over-reporting of voting: A pipeline to the truth

Michael J. Hanmer, Antoine J. Banks, Ismail K. White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Voting is a fundamental part of any democratic society. But survey-based measures of voting are problematic because a substantial proportion of nonvoters report that they voted. This over-reporting has consequences for our understanding of voting as well as the behaviors and attitudes associated with voting. Relying on the "bogus pipeline" approach, we investigate whether altering the wording of the turnout question can cause respondents to provide more accurate responses. We attempt to reduce over-reporting simply by changing the wording of the vote question by highlighting to the respondent that: (1) we can in fact find out, via public records, whether or not they voted; and (2) we (survey administrators) know some people who say they voted did not. We examine these questions through a survey on US voting-age citizens after the 2010 midterm elections, in which we ask them about voting in those elections. Our evidence shows that the question noting we would check the records improved the accuracy of the reports by reducing the over-reporting of turnout.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbermpt027
Pages (from-to)130-141
Number of pages12
JournalPolitical Analysis
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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