Political Behavior

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 43–66 | Cite as

Party Identification and Vote Choice in Partisan and Nonpartisan Elections

  • Chris W. BonneauEmail author
  • Damon M. Cann
Original Paper


For decades, scholars have been interested in the effect of party identification on vote choice. Indeed, candidate party affiliation is seen as the most meaningful cue to voters in terms of which candidate they should support. However, there is a large set of elections in the U.S. that are nonpartisan. Using both experimental data and the first national survey of voters in judicial elections, we probe the effectiveness of the nonpartisan ballot format in keeping partisan considerations out of citizens’ minds when voting in judicial elections. Results based on the experimental and observational data are consistent and show that voters’ decisions are influenced strongly by party identification in both partisan and nonpartisan elections. This suggests that in judicial elections voters are able to successfully bring partisan and/or ideological information to bear on their voting decisions in both partisan and nonpartisan ballot formats, rendering nonpartisan elections ineffective at removing the partisan element from elections.


Judicial elections State politics Partisanship 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUtah State UniversityLoganUSA

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