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The Presence of Others and Overreporting of Voting in American National Elections

Brian D. Silver, Paul R. Abramson and Barbara A. Anderson
The Public Opinion Quarterly
Vol. 50, No. 2 (Summer, 1986), pp. 228-239
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2748886
Page Count: 12
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The Presence of Others and Overreporting of Voting in American National Elections
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Abstract

This study uses the 1978 and 1980 vote validation studies conducted by the Unviersity of Michigan Survey Research Center to test the extent to which false claims about voting are affected by the represence of third parties during the interview. The presence of third parties during interviews is far more frequent than is commonly assumed. But the tendency of respondents to give socially approved answers is not affected by the presence of others during the interview. Thus, additional efforts to avoid contamination of interviews by eliminating third parties are not likely to reduce the exaggeration of self-reported vote. The analysis suggests that the declared intention to vote is a far more important factor in whether people falsely report voting than is the presence of others. Additional effort to understant the motivational basis of voting and nonvoting could help to account for variation in voting overreports.

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