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Voting Cues in Nonpartisan Trial Court Elections: A Multivariate Assessment

Philip L. Dubois
Law & Society Review
Vol. 18, No. 3 (1984), pp. 395-436
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Law and Society Association
DOI: 10.2307/3053430
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3053430
Page Count: 42
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Voting Cues in Nonpartisan Trial Court Elections: A Multivariate Assessment
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Abstract

Despite a number of valuable scholarly contributions made in recent years, we still lack a precise understanding of the determinants of voter choice in low salience nonpartisan judicial elections. Utilizing a multivariate technique that controls for the varying numbers of candidates frequently found in judicial elections, this analysis examines the contributions of incumbency, occupational ballot labels, campaign spending, newspaper and bar association endorsements, voter information pamphlets, and the ethnic and sexual voting cues provided by candidate surnames to the outcomes of the 123 contested primary and run-off elections held for California's major trial court from 1976 to 1980. The results suggest that the determinants of voter choice are quite different in the relatively well-publicized run-off elections than they are in the low visibility primary races. Additionally, judicial voters in the less populated California counties were found to rely upon different guides to voting than voters in California's metropolitan counties. The reasons for and implications of these differences are explored.

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