March 2019

Could Housing Crashes Change Voter Preferences?

March 20, 2019 // 0 Comments

Deirdre Pfeiffer, Jake Wegmann, and Alex Schafran | The election of President Trump in November 2016 came as a surprise to many. Analysts attributed Trump’s election to various factors, such as hostility towards immigrants and racial minorities in white, working class communities that formerly supported Obama and Russian meddling in the election. However, an underexplored factor is the role that the recent housing downturn may have played in the election. There is research showing that Midwestern and Rustbelt counties with a higher percentage of underwater homes (i.e., owing more than the home is worth) were more likely to vote for Trump in 2016 than Romney in 2012. Read More

Voting Can Be Hard, Information Helps

March 4, 2019 // 0 Comments

Melody Crowder-Meyer, Shana Kushner Gadarian , and Jessica Trounstine | How do voters make decisions about which candidates to support? This isn’t just a question we study as political scientists – it’s a question we confront as voters as well. In 2016, one of us had to vote for a presidential nominee by picking convention delegates on a ballot that did not clearly indicate which presidential candidate each delegate supported. In 2017, another one of us was asked to select 5 names from a list of 13 candidates for town board on a ballot with no additional information about the candidates – not even their party affiliations. In contrast, in both of those years, the one of us living in California chose among candidates – in both partisan and non-partisan races – on ballots including not just names but also “ballot designations” indicating candidate occupations and past experience in the office. Read More