Campaigns and Elections

Picking Winners: How Political Organizations Influence Local Elections

December 4, 2017 // 0 Comments

Andrea Benjamin and Alexis Miller | Endorsements are a part of most elections.  In the urban and local context, they can come from other elected officials (National, State, and Local), Political Action Committees (PACs), and newspapers.  Regardless of the source of the endorsements, the conventional wisdom is that candidates seek out endorsements because they believe they help voters make informed decisions.  Despite their popularity during campaigns, we know very little about how local elected officials, PACs, and community leaders decide which candidates to endorse. We know even less about the extent to which voters are aware of these endorsements when casting their ballots.  Based on our study, PACs use a combination of questionnaires, interviews, and member deliberation to determine which candidates they endorse and voters are aware of these endorsements as they vote.  In local elections that lack partisan cues, these endorsements may provide voters with useful shortcuts about which candidates to select. Read More