Date of this Version
Hall, M. 2020. Can Continuous Campaigns Cause Conscientious Citizens to Cower? Undergraduate Honors Thesis. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
The following study examines the relationship between campaign season length and voter turnout. Campaign season length is defined as the period between either the legal beginning of the campaign season as specified by the government or the announcement of the first candidate’s candidacy and the date of the election. Voter turnout is defined as the percentage of eligible voters that voted in the election. Eligible voters include all people of voting age in the country, regardless of whether they are registered to vote. There is no existing literature on the effects of campaign season length on voter turnout. My hypothesis is as amount of time spent campaigning increases, voter turnout decreases. To test this hypothesis, I collected data from the three most recent elections in forty democratic countries. I analyzed the data using the bivariate hypothesis testing method of the correlation coefficient. My findings were inconsistent with this hypothesis: there was no statistically significant relationship between campaign season length and voter turnout. These findings are important because they indicate that shortening campaign seasons can increase voter turnout. High voter turnout is essential for democratic governments to maintain their legitimacy.