The Study of Electoral Behavior

Larry M. Bartels

in The Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199235476
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

The Study of Electoral Behavior

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  • US Politics
  • Political Behaviour



This article discusses the developments of electoral behavior. It is shown that the political aspects of the Columbia studies are the ones that have turned out to have the most influence on subsequent voting research. This work demonstrated the rich potential of election surveys as data for understanding campaigns and elections. The next advance in election studies emerged in the following decade at the University of Michigan. The American Voter was the acknowledged foundation for the entire field of voting research in the decade following its publication. The theoretical account of voting behavior drew heavily upon the metaphor of a ‘funnel of causality’. The ‘funnel of causality’ provided a convenient framework within which to pursue both a comprehensive program of electoral accounting and a more selective strategy of explanation. Elections and the Political Order signaled a continuing interest in the relationship between electoral behavior and the broader workings of government.

Keywords: electoral behavior; Columbia; Michigan; The American Voter; funnel of causality; Elections and the Political Order; campaigns; voting

Article.  10063 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour

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