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The Motivational Basis of Straight and Split Ticket Voting

  • Angus Campbell (a1) and Warren E. Miller (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 September 2013

The extraordinary discrepancy in the popular vote for President Eisenhower and the vote for Republican Congressmen in the 1956 election dramatized a privilege which the American electorate exercises almost uniquely in the democratic world, the right of voters to split their ballots between the candidates of opposing political parties.

The fact of ballot splitting in American elections is of course a commonplace but it has not been widely studied and it is not well understood. The aggregative statistics from the 1956 election make it apparent that millions of voters must have chosen President Eisenhower and a Democratic congressman but they do not tell us how many voters split their ballots in the opposite direction or how many voted for president but not for Congressman, and they give us only the vaguest indications of what was in the voters' minds when they crossed party lines in marking their ballots.

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Warren E. Miller , “Presidential Coattails: A Study in Political Myth and Methodology,” Public Opinion Quarterly, Vol. 19 (Winter 19551956), pp. 353–68

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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
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