Testing Voter responses to New Style Judicial Campaign Appeals: What works – Policy Promotion or Experience?

Mark McKenzie, Cynthia Rugeley, Michael Unger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Historically, judicial campaigns in America centered on candidate appeals to experience and expertise in the law. In more recent years, state supreme court campaigns have become more issue-based, representing a “new style” campaign as termed by public law scholars. This study examines how voters respond to judicial candidates’ policy-based appeals versus traditional appeals to experience. Using an experiment embedded in the 2010 Cooperative Congressional Elections Study survey, we examine how these different messages affect the vote choice of individuals toward judicial candidates. Our results show that judicial voters do not react negatively to policy promises per se, as some public law scholars have feared. Rather, these voters respond favorably to specific issues when a judicial candidate promotes a position consistent with the voter's opinions. Interestingly, however, we find that some candidates benefit more from “New Style” campaign messages than others.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)562-585
JournalPolitics & Policy
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2015

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