Moderators of the Name-Order Effect: The 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio

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In trying to gauge for which candidates citizens will vote for, pre-election surveys find that the order that the candidates are ordered in the surveys affects the measurements made. This study explores whether the order of candidates on ballots affects election outcomes, as well as whether certain precinct characteristics and ballot features moderate the magnitude of the name-order effect. If candidates whose names are listed first on a ballot tend to receive more votes as the result, this can have important implications for the validity of the results of closely contested races. Various statistical methods have been used to test name-order effects in past elections, but no studies have yet directly compared these statistical methods to one another to see whether they yield different results. Furthermore, very little research has tested for moderating effects of voter characteristics that make name order effects more or less likely to occur. Using data from over ten thousand precincts for the 2004 presidential race in Ohio where name order is rotated randomly across precincts, I used seemingly unrelated regression to examine name-order effects and to test for moderators. Not only did all presidential candidates tend to receive more votes when listed first, name-order effects were most pronounced in precincts using touch screen voting machines, with high invalidation rates, using longer ballots, with many uneducated citizens and with many Spanish-speaking households, These findings have important and largely unheeded implications for optimal design of pre-election surveys and election ballots.


Type of resource text
Date created March 2008


Author Blocksom, Daniel
Primary advisor Krosnick, Jon
Degree granting institution Stanford University, Department of Economics


Subject Stanford Department of Economics
Subject ballot
Subject name order
Subject election outcomes
Subject Ohio
Genre Thesis

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Blocksom, Daniel. (2008). Moderators of the Name-Order Effect: The 2004 Presidential Election in Ohio. Stanford Digital Repository. Available at:


Stanford University, Department of Economics, Honors Theses

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