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Replicating Experiments Using Aggregate and Survey Data: The Case of Negative Advertising and Turnout

Stephen D. Ansolabehere, Shanto Iyengar and Adam Simon
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 93, No. 4 (Dec., 1999), pp. 901-909
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2586120
Page Count: 9
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Replicating Experiments Using Aggregate and Survey Data: The Case of Negative Advertising and Turnout
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Abstract

Experiments show significant demobilizing and alienating effects of negative advertising. Although internally valid, experiments may have limited external validity. Aggregate and survey data offer two ways of providing external validation for experiments. We show that survey recall measures of advertising exposure suffer from problems of internal validity due to simultaneity and measurement error, which bias estimated effects of ad exposure. We provide valid estimates of the causal effects of ad exposure for the NES surveys using instrumental variables and find that negative advertising causes lower turnout in the NES data. We also provide a careful statistical analysis of aggregate turnout data from the 1992 Senate elections that Wattenberg and Brians (1999) recommend. These aggregate data confirm our original findings. Experiments, surveys, and aggregate data all point to the same conclusion: Negative advertising demobilizes voters.

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