Meet the Candidates: Information and Accountability in Primary and General Elections

Background
Research Design
Hypotheses
  • Political information (exposure to screenings) will increase a) political knowledge, b) voter turnout, c) votes for the candidate who is perceived to perform best in the “Meet the Candidate” session.
  • Political information (exposure to debates) will have a larger effect on votes for the winner, voter turnout, and political knowledge in an intra-party than an inter-party environment.
  • A candidate who performs poorly in the “Meet the Candidate” session, (compared to viewer expectations) will reduce turnout in an inter-party environment to a greater extent
  • than in an intra-party environment. In a highly polarized environment, supporters of the lower performing candidate in the session will switch their vote to another candidate
  • in an intra-party environment, but will not in an inter-party environment and will be less likely to vote at all in the case of the latter.
  • The effect of political information provided in a group setting will have a greater effect on voting behavior than information provided in an individual setting. That is, support (measured as intended vote choice) for the perceived best performer of the session will be greater in the group than individual screening.
  • There will be lower support for the incumbent or the incumbent’s party in constituencies where the results of the scorecard/audit place the constituency below the median constituency performance, while support for the incumbent/incumbent’s party will be higher where the results of the scorecard/audit place the constituency above the median constituency performance.
Findings