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Contextual Influences on Participation in U. S. State Legislative Elections

Gregory A. Caldeira and Samuel C. Patterson
Legislative Studies Quarterly
Vol. 7, No. 3 (Aug., 1982), pp. 359-381
Published by: Washington University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/439363
Page Count: 23
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Contextual Influences on Participation in U. S. State Legislative Elections
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Abstract

Participation by voters in the election of U.S. state legislators varies significantly across legislative districts. This analysis of state legislative elections in Iowa and California in 1978 demonstrates the powerful effects which campaign and partisan competitiveness can have on the extent to which voters take part in choosing their state legislator. With participation rates as the dependent variables, this study establishes a multivariate model which includes variables for campaign spending, the closeness of the electoral contests, the extent of district partisanship, and the degree of party competition. These "political mobilization" factors are shown to contribute very substantially to explaining variations in participation.

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