Friday, May 28, 2010

Polling location and voter choice

Somewhat in the spirit of Caplan, a new paper in Political Psychology suggests the location of polling booths may affect voter behaviour.
Voting is perceived as free and rational. Citizens make whatever choices they wish, shielded from external influences by the privacy of the voting booth. The current paper, however, suggests that a subtle source of influence—polling places themselves—can impact voting behavior. In two elections, people voting in churches were more likely to support a conservative candidate and a ban on same-sex marriage, but not the restriction of eminent domain. A field experiment found that people completing questionnaires in a chapel awarded less money (relative to people in a secular building) to insurance claimants seeking compensation for abortion pills, but not to worker’s compensation claimants.
Like a large number of Irish people, my polling centre is where I went to primary school. (Incidentally, the last time around we elected a relatively unknown school-teacher on the first count.)

(HT: BPS.)

1 comment:

Kevin Denny said...

Fascinating article