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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Conservationism is not Conservatism: Do Interest Group Endorsements Help Voters Hold Representatives Accountable?

  • Author(s): Kaufman, Aaron
  • Advisor(s): Bimes, Terri
  • et al.
Abstract

Much research assumes that voters know or can learn the positions their representatives take on key issue. Arthur Lupia found that voters could learn such information through advertisements and interest group endorsements. We examine whether these cues improve voters’ ability to infer their representative’s voting behavior and find that most interest groups fail to do so. In a follow-up study, we find that voters are ignorant of which positions the interest groups take on issues. Finally, we run a similar experiment for representatives’ party affiliation and find that it is similarly uninformative; voters are unclear on where the parties stand on issues as well.

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