*Direct correspondence to M. V. Hood III, Department of Political Science, University of Georgia, 104 Baldwin Hall, Athens, GA 30602 〈firstname.lastname@example.org〉. M. V. Hood III will share all data and coding information for purposes of replication. A previous version of this article was presented at the 2008 Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, New Orleans, LA. For their helpful comments, the authors thank David Canon, Gary Copeland, Neil Malhotra, and the anonymous reviewers. They also thank Chris D'Elia and James Gore, who, at the time, were affiliated with USF St. Petersburg, and provided us the grant money that made this research possible.
Stranger Danger: Redistricting, Incumbent Recognition, and Vote Choice*
Version of Record online: 6 APR 2010
© 2010 by the Southwestern Social Science Association
Social Science Quarterly
Volume 91, Issue 2, pages 344–358, June 2010
How to Cite
Hood, M. V. and McKee, S. C. (2010), Stranger Danger: Redistricting, Incumbent Recognition, and Vote Choice. Social Science Quarterly, 91: 344–358. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-6237.2010.00696.x
- Issue online: 6 APR 2010
- Version of Record online: 6 APR 2010
Objectives. We take a step forward in examining the electoral effects of redistricting by: (1) demonstrating that voters with a new incumbent because of redistricting are less likely to recognize their representative, and (2) voters are less likely to vote for their representative if they fail to recognize him or her.
Methods. Our data come from a survey of white respondents who resided in the redrawn Eighth District of Georgia for the 2006 U.S. House elections. We use probit regressions to first measure the effect of redistricting on incumbent recognition. Then, we assess the likelihood of voting for the incumbent depending on whether a respondent was redrawn or has the same incumbent after redistricting, and whether or not the respondent could recognize his or her representative.
Results. Our analyses make it clear that redrawn voters were much less likely to recognize their incumbent and it is the inability to recognize one's incumbent, irrespective of whether the representative has changed due to redistricting, which accounts for a reduced likelihood of voting for the incumbent.
Conclusions. Other scholars have examined the relationship between redistricting and incumbent recognition. Likewise, many have evaluated the effects of redistricting on vote choice. This article, however, is the first to merge these two relationships. We find that redrawn constituents are less likely to know who their representative is, and it is indeed a lack of familiarity that reduces an incumbent's vote share. Thus, we have shown empirically that the absence of a personal vote, which is exacerbated by redistricting, proves electorally harmful to the incumbent.