Rose Fellow Douglas Johnson on Candidate Statements and Ballot Order

Rose Institute Fellow Douglas Johnson was quoted in a September 25th article in the Victorville Daily Press. The article is titled “Ballot order, candidate statements influence elections” and features Johnson discussing the importance of those two aspects of a campaign.

Johnson is quoted as saying that “candidate statements are considered the bare minimum by campaign advisers in most local campaigns…Often when we’re looking at who’s a strong candidate, the easiest way to know, to check someone off the list, is if they didn’t file a candidate statement.”

Additionally, according to Johnson, an increase in the number of candidates in a race also means an increase in the likely importance of candidate statements.

The article also discusses how “the order candidate’s names appear on the ballot can also influence voter response…[and that] the general consensus is that ballot order can sway the vote by between one and three percent.” In races with many candidates, Johnson says that the first two names listed and the final name listed generally have an advantage. This is especially the case when some candidates have similar sounding names.

Johnson notes “one way some candidates help compensate for the “ballot effect” is by sending out mailers with a picture of what the ballot will look like…with their position highlighted so that voters can easily locate them.”

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