Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Please Don't Vote for Ben Griffin!

Tomorrow is Election Day. Please Don't Vote for Ben Griffin! If you were going to vote for Ben Griffin, please don't vote. Let me tell you why.

There is no Ben Griffin.  I mean, there is probably a Ben Griffin somewhere, but he is not a candidate running for Metro Council in the August 4th race tomorrow. Two political scientist at Vanderbilt University, Cindy Kam  and Elizabeth Zechmeister conducted a study a few weeks ago to test name recognition and voter preference. The following except from a Vandy press release explains it:

Kam and Zechmeister had the fictitious name “Ben Griffin” printed on political yard signs and placed on the lawn of a cooperating homeowner. The home was located on a street near a local elementary school. The researchers had previously determined that about half of all school traffic would pass by the location of the fictitious signs.
Three days after the signs were posted, the nearby school’s Parent Teacher Organization, which was cooperating with the professors, emailed the school’s parents a link to a short internet survey. Parents were asked to complete the survey in order to earn $5 per family for the school.
Survey respondents were asked to select their top three choices for the county’s at-large council seats. The seven options included the five actual incumbent candidates running for office along with two fictitious candidates, one of whom was Ben Griffin.
Kam and Zechmeister found that nearly a quarter of the respondents who had driven by the signs for the fictitious Ben Griffin placed him among their top three choices for the at-large council seats. Kam and Zechmeister found that nearly a quarter of the respondents who had driven by the signs for the fictitious Ben Griffin placed him among their top three choices for the at-large council seats. Meanwhile, only about 14 percent of the respondents in the control group (those who would not have driven by the fictitious candidate signs) placed Griffin among their top three choices.
“The 10 percent difference is sizable given the small number of days we carried out the experiment and how unobtrusive the yard signs were,” Zechmeister said.
Please, please, if you are going to vote based solely on name recognition, if you have not studied the candidates, if you don't know why you are going to vote the way you will vote, let me tell you who to vote for or do everyone else a favor and just don't vote!

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1 comment:

  1. I would suggest the latter and not vote. Under no circumstances should anyone vote for someone simply because someone told you to.

    ReplyDelete