Initiative Campaigns: Direct Democracy and Voter Mobilization
Previous research has found that the campaigns of candidates running for office provide information to voters and can increase turnout. Scholarly research has also found that states with initiatives and referendums appearing on the ballot have higher voter turnout, especially in midterm elections. However, actual initiative campaigns are rarely measured. Drawing on national survey data and state contextual factors, we use a multilevel modeling strategy to test whether Americans are more likely to vote in recent midterm and presidential elections when there is increased spending in initiative and candidate campaigns, as well as more frequent use of direct democracy. The research includes a number of methodological advancements from earlier work on turnout and direct democracy (including a control for endogeneity) by restricting the analysis to initiative states only. The analysis suggests initiative campaigns not only increase individual level turnout but also especially benefit the lower educated.
Caroline J. Tolbert, Daniel C. Bowen, and Todd Donovan. "Initiative Campaigns: Direct Democracy and Voter Mobilization" American politics research 37.1 (2009): 165-192.
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