Research

I. Publications

Shino, Enrijeta and Daniel A. Smith. 2018. “Timing the Habit: Voter Registration and Turnout.” Electoral Studies 51: 72-82.

II. Articles Under Review

  1. Issue Voting in the 2012 and 2016 Elections: An Assessment of Mode Effects. (with Michael D. Martinez)
  2. Survey Mode Effects in the 2018 Florida Elections. (with Michael D. Martinez and Michael Binder)
  3. The Differential Effects of Georgia’s Exact-Match Algorithm. (with Michael P. McDonald, Pedro Otálora, and Daniel A. Smith)

III. Working Papers

1. Strategic Voter or Strategic Respondent? Survey Mode Effects in Estimating Strategic Voting.

With the increasing costs and shrinking response rate, mixed-mode surveys have gained popularity among scholars and practitioners as a less expensive option of data collection. A number of studies have shown considerable modal differences. Particularly when administering web surveys, respondents appear to be more politically knowledgeable, more politically engaged, provide more diffuse, extreme answers, and fewer “Don’t know” responses compared to telephone or face-to-face respondents. In this paper, I examine the presence of survey mode effects in estimated models of strategic voting. I argue that self-administered (web) surveys would yield a higher rate of strategic voters compared to interviewer- assisted (telephone) surveys. Respondents interviewed using web surveys are more likely to express support for a losing party compared to phone survey respondents. Using dual-mode survey data from the 2015 Canadian National Election Study (CNES) and the 2005 British Election Study (BES), I find significant behavioral differences between phone and web respondents. As expected, web surveys estimate a higher rate of strategic voters compared to phone surveys. In addition, strategic voters interviewed via web, contrarily from telephone respondents, appear to be less partisan, more sociotropic voters, and show both portfolio and seat-maximizing behavior. These findings have implications for scholars of voting behavior, as well as election practitioners who aim in identifying and mobilizing likely voters.

2. “That Early Thing”: The Political Knowledge of Convenience Voters” (with Daniel A. Smith)

Are convenience voters—those who cast their ballots early in-person or by absentee mail—less politically knowledgeable than those who wait until Election Day to vote? Conservative pundits, state lawmakers, and even President Donald Trump have expressed concerns about convenience voting, claiming that early voters are less politically knowledgeable, and thus more likely to cast uninformed ballots. More recently, North Carolina lawmakers introduced a bill that would eliminate early voting on the last Saturday before Election Day. Theoretically, based on what scholars know about convenience voters, there is good reason to expect that politically knowledgeable voters are more likely to vote early than on Election Day. Drawing on five Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES) national pre- and post-election surveys and data from an original survey of Florida registered voters conducted in 2017, we asses whether less politically knowledgeable voters are more likely to vote early in-person or by absentee mail rather than wait until Election Day to cast their ballots. Our multinomial logistic regression models with fixed-effects for those states permitting convenience voting, and controlling for standard socio-economic, political, and campaign effects, find no evidence to support the claim that less politically knowledgeable voters are more likely to cast their ballots before Election Day.

3. “Convenience Voting and Turnout: Reassessing the Effects of Election Reforms (with Michael P. McDonald and Daniel A. Smith)

Democratic systems are generally considered to function best when the electorate is a reflection of the citizenry. With that goal in mind, liberal policymakers often advocate electoral reforms that they expect will expand the electorate so that those on the periphery will be drawn in to participate in democratic governance. A recent award-winning article by Burden, et al. (2014) finds that the electoral reform of “early voting” (absentee and early in-person) fails to increase a state’s voter turnout. They find that early voting, when implemented alone and not accompanied by Election Day or Same Day registration, led to lower statewide voter turnout in the 2004 and 2008 General Elections. After replicating and extending their analysis, we reassess the issue of these seemingly unintended consequences bringing to bear new data and methods. Following Hur and Achen (2013), we re­weight Current Population Survey (CPS) data on state-level voter turnout to account for non­response and vote over­report bias encountered in these survey data.  We then offer an alternative theory grounded in the accessibility of convenience voting reforms.  Drawing on data from the 2008 and 2012 CPS, our models provide corrected and more refined measures of convenience voting based on states’ predisposition to facilitate different modes of convenience voting for eligible voters, relying on the early in-person and absentee mail voting rules that states have implemented.  We find that convenience voting reforms—particularly absentee mail ballots and early in-person voting on the weekends—do not exhibit the unintended consequence of depressing voter turnout.

IV. Non Peer – Reviewed Articles & Op-Eds

  1. Your Voting Habits may Depend on When you Registered to Vote. 2018. The Conversation.
  2. Strong Conservative Support for Governor Scott to Keep his Promise to Protect LGBT State Workers and Contractors. 2018. Bureau of Economics and Business Research – Survey Research Center, University of Florida.
  3. Home Ownership In Florida: Why It Matters And What Floridians Think. 2017. Bureau of Economics and Business Research – Survey Research Center, University of Florida.