Gronke – 2008 – Early Voting Reforms and American Elections

Gronke, Toffey – 2008 – The Psychological and Institutional Determinants of Early Voting


This article examines early voting, an institutional innovation whereby citizens can cast their ballots a time and location other than on election day and at the precinct place. Early voting has been proposed as way to expand the franchise, by making voting more convenient, and extend the franchise, by encouraging turnout among those segments of the population who are unable or unwilling to vote using traditional methods. The article draws on models of voter decision making that conceptualize voting as a choice reached under uncertainty. Voters vary by (a) their willingness to accept uncertainty, (b) their cognitive engagement with the campaign, and (c) their location in an institutional environment that makes early voting possible. We propose a multivariate model of early voting, contingent on a voter’s prior levels of political information, level of fixed political beliefs, and political information activity. These are also interacted with the institutional context (laws and procedures that allow early voting). At the descriptive level, we find most of the expected demographic and attitudinal patterns: early voters are older, better educated, and more cognitively engaged in the campaign and in politics. Because national surveys are ill equipped to capture nuanced campaign dynamics, many of the statistically significant relationships disappear in multi- variate analyses. Regardless, revealing differences emerge between midterm and presidential election years that allow us to make important inferences about the demographic and participatory characteristics of early voters.

Gronke, Cook – 2007 – Disdaining the Media- The American Public’s Changing Attitudes Toward the News


After spending two decades studying the news media as an institution, Tim Cook turned his attention to public attitudes about the press, a topic that lurked behind much of his work, most prominently Governing with the News, but one that he had never addressed directly in print. As was typically the case with Tim’s voracious intellectual appetite, the project grew into a larger study of public trust and confidence in institutions. This piece represents the first fruits of this collaboration, addressing what began our inquiry: what was the cause of the long known, but seldom explained, decline in pubic confidence in the press? Was it because they had become, in Cook’s words, just another “governing” institution? Or was there something distinct about the press as an institution in the array of public attitudes about the social and political world? In this piece, we demonstrate how confidence in the press is distinct from generalized confidence in other social and political institutions. In particular, we find that the same political indicators that lead to higher confidence in institutions in general drive down confidence in the press. We close by speculating on likely future trends given the adversarial tenor of press coverage.

Gronke, Galanes-Rosenbaum, Miller – 2007 – Early Voting and Turnout

Gronke, Newman – 2003 – FDR to Clinton, Mueller to?: A Field Essay on Presidential Approval


Since the 1930s, polling organizations have asked Americans whether they “approve or disapprove of the job the incumbent is doing as president.” In the early 1970s, John Mueller started an academic industry by asking what drives these evaluations. American politics and the tools available to examine it have changed dramatically since then, inspiring a burst of research on presidential approval in the 1990s. We review this new body of literature, arguing that it builds on but differs importantly from earlier approval studies. Since Mueller’s writing, scholars have expanded his relatively simple model, taking account of presidents’ goals and personal characteristics, other political actors, the ubiquitous media, and an inattentive public. We describe three waves of research, focusing on the most recent wave. We suggest that history, along with new intellectual currents, data, and methods have enabled each wave to incorporate more of political, social, and psychological reality. Finally, we identify the issues most likely to motivate presidential approval research for the next ten years.

Gronke, Brehm – 2002 – History, Heterogeneity, and Presidential Approval: A Modified ARCH Approach


Since Mueller, 1973 (War, Presidents, and Public Opinion, John Wiley, New York), the study of Presidential popularity routinely designates certain historical events as “rallying” events, especially the onset of foreign conflicts. Subsequent scholarship explores the effect of additional significant historical events (such as scandals or bad economic conditions) upon the President’s stock of approval. This paper argues that prior research has misconceptualized “rallies”, which refer to stable increases in approval of the president’s performance, not just a short-lived spike. Volatility is an important but mostly neglected aspect of presidential approval. This paper shows how the systematic causes of volatility can be examined. Volatility
increases across administrations and over time, primarily as a consequence of weakening partisan attachments. Volatility decreases during elections and after honeymoons, and presidentially relevant events vary in their effects on the mean level as well as on volatility. The results have significant implications for the support of rational political actors in the legislature and for evidence of the rationality of public opinion.

Gronke – 1992 – Overreporting the Vote in the 1988 Senate Election Study: A Response to Wright

Page, Shapiro, Gronke et al. – 1984 – Constituency, Party, and Representation in Congress


Using congressional districts as primary sampling units, the 1978 National Elec- tion Survey provides improved (though still imperfect) measures of district opinion. To- gether with Census data on district demography, roll call voting scales, and information on congressmen’s party and personal characteristics, they permit a new examination of repre- sentation in Congress. Using these data we found a high degree of representation of district opinion on social welfare and (surprisingly) on women’s issues, nearly as much on racial issues, and much less on law and order or on abortion. District demography and congress- men’s party add substantially to the explanation of roll call votes. There is not, however, much “responsible party” representation in Congress. Future representation studies must face questions about the complex interplay among these factors, including reciprocal influences.