Do candidate positions matter? The effect of the gay marriage question on gubernatorial elections

Michael J. Ensley, Erik P. Bucy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article demonstrates that candidate positions on the ballot measure to ban gay marriage had an effect on gubernatorial voting. With exit poll data from three states in 2006, we find that the effect of support for the ban is at least twice as large when the candidates adopted divergent positions. Support for the ban has a smaller but significant effect on vote choice when the candidate positions converge, which suggests an indiscriminate priming effect. These findings are supported with aggregate data from 45 gubernatorial races in 2004 and 2006. The analysis reveals that Republican candidates benefited if candidate positions diverged, with the Democratic candidates expressing opposition to the gay marriage ban.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-164
Number of pages23
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Volume38
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Keywords

  • Ballot measures
  • Gay marriage
  • Gubernatorial elections
  • Same-sex marriage
  • Voting

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