This investigation is based on an experimental study of voting behavior in what the author terms a minimal-information election. This type of election is characterized by a dearth of public information about election issues and partisan considerations, so that the campaign is waged primarily on the basis of the voters' attitudes toward the candidates as personalities. In general, the minimal-information election most often characterizes local nonpartisan contests.
The experiment examined changes in voting that appeared to result from electioneering strategies designed to elicit “bandwagon” or “underdog” responses. These strategies consisted of presenting the “electorate” with the results of pre-election preferential polls, as well as qualitative information explicitly aimed at arousing the emotions of the voters.
The experiment clearly demonstrated that mere poll results are insufficient to impel would-be bandwagon or underdog identifiers to switch their votes. Rather, this type of behavior does not appear until a strong qualitative stimulus sensitizes or cues bandwagon or underdog tendencies among the voters.
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