Department of Political Science
Level of Office and Candidate Attributes
Candidate-choice experiments are widely used in Political Science, but little attention is paid to what kind of office these hypothetical candidates are seeking. However, there is evidence that individuals do not treat each office the same way on election day: turnout is much lower when municipal races top the ballot relative to when Congressional or presidential races are on the ballot. Additionally, even when multiple races are on the ballot, voters clearly utilize more than party ID to choose elected officials. Politicians such as Senator Manchin, Secretary of State Kim Wyman of Washington, Democratic governors in Kansas, Kentucky, and Louisiana, and Republican governors in Massachusetts, Maryland, and New Hampshire all won statewide election despite running in states that reliably vote for the other party in presidential races. In this research, I ask two related questions. First, do individuals prefer different types of candidates for different levels of political office? Second, do individuals prefer representation from candidates running for higher office than from candidates running for lower levels of office?
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