Journal Article

Process Preferences and Voting in Direct Democratic Elections

Joshua J. Dyck and Mark Baldassare

in Public Opinion Quarterly

Published on behalf of American Association for Public Opinion Research

Volume 73, issue 3, pages 551-565
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 0033-362X
Published online June 2009 | e-ISSN: 1537-5331 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/poq/nfp027
Process Preferences and Voting in Direct Democratic Elections

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Direct democracy is extraordinarily popular and has become a pervasive policymaking tool at the state and local level. Repeated surveys have demonstrated that Americans strongly approve of allowing people to vote on citizen-proposed laws, a method currently allowed in about half of all states and in many municipalities across the country. This paper examines both the extent of this support and its implications. Using a battery of questions about the institution as an independent variable, we model the extent to which institutional evaluations of direct democracy influence voting behavior in ballot measure elections. Using data from California in 2005 and 2006, as well as Washington in 2006, we find support for the notion that process evaluations influence choice in ballot initiative elections, regardless of policy content. Those who favor direct democracy are more likely to vote yes, while those who are apprehensive about voting on ballot measures are more likely to vote no.

Journal Article.  5398 words. 

Subjects: Social Sciences

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