Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Voters have up to five times more influence in early primaries

Date:
June 10, 2011
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, potential candidates are making frequent stops in New Hampshire and Iowa. New research shows that voters in early primary states have a disproportionate influence on who gets elected.

Vote early. New research shows that voters in states with early presidential primaries have a disproportionate influence in the races for presidential nominations.
Credit: Mike Cohea/Brown University

As the nation gears up for the 2012 presidential election, potential candidates are making frequent stops in New Hampshire and Iowa. Research by a Brown University economist, published in The Journal of Political Economy, shows that voters in early primary states have a disproportionate influence on who gets elected.

Voters in states with early primary races such as Iowa and New Hampshire have up to five times the influence of voters in later states in selecting presidential candidates, according to research by Brown University economist Brian Knight. The paper, the first to quantify the effects of early victories in the race for the presidential nomination, is co-authored by Nathan Schiff and published in The Journal of Political Economy.

"Evidence that early voters have a disproportionate influence over the selection of candidates violates 'one person-one vote' -- a democratic ideal on which our nation is based."Knight and Schiff developed a statistical model that examines how daily polling data responds to returns from presidential primaries. In the model, candidates can benefit from momentum effects when their performance in early states exceeds expectations. For example, Knight and Schiff found that in 2004, John Kerry benefited from surprising wins in early states and took votes away from Howard Dean, who held a strong lead prior to the beginning of the primary season. According to their research, Schiff and Knight predict that if states other than Iowa and New Hampshire had voted first in 2004, the Democratic nominee may have been John Edwards, rather than John Kerry.

"Clearly, the primary calendar plays a key role in the selection of the nominee," said Knight, associate professor of economics. "Evidence that early voters have a disproportionate influence over the selection of candidates violates 'one person-one vote' -- a democratic ideal on which our nation is based."

Knight and Schiff also simulate the 2004 primary as a simultaneous national primary, which they predict would have been much tighter than Kerry's landslide victory, due to the absence of momentum effects. Additionally, the research demonstrates how this disproportionate influence of early voters affects candidates' allocation of campaign resources, as measured by advertising expenditures. They found that candidates spent a disproportionately high amount in states with early primaries. The economists conclude, "While these results are specific to the 2004 primary, we feel that they are informative more generally in the debate over the design of electoral systems in the United States and elsewhere..."

Knight's current work addresses the policy implications of this research, exploring which system is the best in terms of selecting the best candidates. The work considers whether there should be a national primary in which every state votes on the same day, the current sequential system, or possibly a hybrid system with a rotating regional primary.

Schiff conducted this research as a graduate student at Brown and is currently assistant professor of strategy and business economics at the University of British Columbia.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brown University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Brian Knight, Nathan Schiff. Momentum and Social Learning in Presidential Primaries. The Journal of Political Economy, 2010; 118 (6): 1110 DOI: 10.1086/658372

Cite This Page:

Brown University. "Voters have up to five times more influence in early primaries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110610094503.htm>.
Brown University. (2011, June 10). Voters have up to five times more influence in early primaries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110610094503.htm
Brown University. "Voters have up to five times more influence in early primaries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110610094503.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus

Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus

AP (July 30, 2014) Scientists in Texas are studying the Ebola virus, which has killed more than 670 people across West Africa this year. Right now, the disease has no vaccine and no specific treatment, with a fatality rate of at least 60 percent. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins