Are Elections in America Unfair? Exploring the Impact of Candidate Name Order

Mardch 30, 2017, 3pm

MZES, A5,6 (room A231)

Jon Krosnick


In 2000, President George Bush’s name was listed first on every ballot in Florida and won that State and the Presidency by the narrowest of margins.  Was his victory the result of his ballot placement?  Have the outcomes of many recent elections been influenced by name order?   This talk proposes a theory of why such effects might occur and reviews the body of studies that have explored this issue.  Some such studies suggest name order effects are real, whereas other studies question their reality or pervasiveness.  Spotlighted in this talk will be reanalysis of older data and analysis of newly collected data to shed light on the conditions under which name order effects occur, their magnitude, whether different research methods lead to different conclusions, and whether governments should reform their ballot design practices to make elections more fair.

About the speaker

Professor Jon Krosnick, a guest of the GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Mannheim, is the Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences, Professor of Communication, Political Science, and (by courtesy) Psychology at Stanford University. Professor Krosnick conducts research in three primary areas: attitude formation, change, and effects; the psychology of political behavior, and survey research methodology, specifically the optimal design of questionnaires used for laboratory experiments and surveys. Winner of the American Association for Public Opinion Research’s Lifetime Achievement Award, a fellow by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and winner of numerous accolades, Professor Krosnick is the author of seven books and more than 190 articles and chapters and is a leading expert on political attitude formation, questionnaire design, and survey methods.