Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Does ballot position matter?
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Does ballot position matter?

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013

* SJ-R

State Sen. Bill Brady will have the top ballot spot in the March 18 primary for governor, due to a lottery conducted Wednesday at the State Board of Elections.

Following Brady — a member of the state Senate from Bloomington and the 2010 Republican gubernatorial nominee — will be state Treasurer Dan Rutherford of Chenoa, state Sen. Kirk Dillard of Hinsdale and venture capitalist Bruce Rauner of Winnetka. […]

The statewide lottery — which featured numbered balls being picked out of a wooden box by Becky Glazier, assistant to the executive director of the state board — determined ballot order for candidates who were in line to file when the filing period started at 8 a.m. Nov. 25. People who filed later will generally be on the ballot in the order they filed.

One other GOP candidate for governor, Peter Edward Jones of Franklin Park, will be fifth on the ballot unless a pending objection to his petitions yields the removal of his name.

* But will this really matter much? Larry Sabato has probably the best take on ballot position I’ve yet seen. He examined eight research papers, some conflicting with each other, and came to some important conclusions, including

1. There is an advantage to being listed first on the ballot. Voters who do not have well defined choices prior to voting appear to latch onto the first name on the ballot for each office, a phenomenon we might call “first-listing bias.” In the split-second process of decision-making, they do more thinking about this candidate. For those voters truly on the fence, this mental consideration of the first candidate can produce an affirmative vote. (An aside: One wonders whether the first-listing bias is as great for absentee and mail ballot voters, compared to those who turn up at the polls on Election Day. Voters can take their time at home–they can even do some internet research on the candidates before completing their ballots. At the polls, many voters feel anxious and tense. Everyone is in a hurry and being watched. No one wants to hold up the line. Alas, there is no research of which we are aware on this subject, perhaps because absentee ballots pose further obstacles to researchers. As one study stated, “We were unable to analyze absentee votes because name order is rotated from ballot to ballot, and records are not kept of vote totals separately for the different name orders.”)

2. The advantage for first-listed candidates varies widely. In some elections a first-listing produces just a handful of votes, though they can make the difference in an extremely close election. In other elections a first-listing can generate extra votes up to about 5% of the overall tally, according to some studies.

3. Offices at the top of the ballot, for president, governor, and senator, produce the fewest additional votes for a first-listed candidate. That is because the candidates for these high-visibility offices tend to be well known, and most voters have made a firm decision about which to support prior to voting.

4. Offices in the middle and bottom of the ballot are especially susceptible to the first-listing bias. Many candidates for lower statewide elected office (such as lieutenant governor, attorney general, labor commissioner, etc.) and other localized offices (state legislators, city councilors, and so on) are surprisingly little known by many voters. A voter may have gone to the polls specifically to vote for president or governor, and once in the voting booth be surprised to discover lots of other offices up for election. Some voters just skip these contests (which may be the responsible thing to do if one has not studied them in advance), and this produces a phenomenon called “voter fatigue” or “ballot drop-off.” The number of votes cast for president is almost always much greater than the number of votes cast for any other office, for example. Often, the number of votes cast per office drops consistently as one moves down the ballot. However, other voters feel an obligation to be “good citizens” and cast a ballot even in races where the candidates are unknown to them. First-listing bias can be a major factor for these voters. […]

6. Elections without well-known incumbents are more susceptible to first listing bias than those with such incumbents. Incumbency can substitute for a party label, in that less attentive voters may use name identification as a vote prompt where party identification is not available.

7. Primary elections are more susceptible to first-listing bias than general elections. By definition, party primaries do not contain a party identification prompt. All the candidates are either Democrats or Republicans, and so party voters lack a key voting cue. On the other hand, incumbency (if it exists and especially if it is noted on the primary ballot) can substitute for the party prompt, and thereby minimize first-listing bias. […]

9. There is some evidence that, in a long listing of candidates for a particular office, being listed last is almost as good as being listed first. This is somewhat biblical–”the first shall be last and the last shall be first”–but essentially, the suggestion is that the voter’s eyes assess a large, multi-candidate field by focusing on the first listed candidate and then the last-listed candidate, with those positioned in the middle getting short-shrift. The first-listed candidate still gets more “extra” votes, but the last-listed candidate does second best in this category.

10. Of all these principles that govern the first-listing bias, the most important are the degree of information held by individual voters and the position of the office on the ballot. Elections that draw a disproportionate number of well-informed voters have lower first-listing bias effects. And long ballots that ask voters to cast votes on an extended list of offices and candidates almost certainly exaggerate the first-listing bias for the offices toward the end of the ballot.

I think we can conclude from this that if Bruce Rauner gets his name recognition way up by March, then his fourth place listing won’t matter all that much. But if it ends up being a super-close race, then Brady might benefit a bit.

* There are obviously some races where ballot position will be important. Take, for instance, the 40th House District race. Rep. Jaime Andrade (D-Chicago) was appointed to replace Deb Mell. Andrade has six (yes, six) Democratic primary opponents. From Russ Stewart’s latest column…

(W)e shall see in the primary whether the Mell Machine is toothless and decrepit. Upon Deb Mell’s resignation, Dick Mell engineered the appointment of top staffer Jaime Andrade to her House seat.

In the primary, Andrade has six opponents—a clear signal of his political precariousness. He has multiple problems. First, Dick Mell’s clout has withered since his retirement. Second, Andrade is totally unknown, and must rely on Madigan money and Mell workers to persevere. Andrade backed the Quinn-Madigan pension “fix” so the speaker owes him. By doing so, he alienated Organized Labor; SEIU and AFSCME will spend heavily against him in the primary. Third, the Hispanic voter base in the district is only 30 percent of registered voters. And fourth, he exudes no charisma.

But he could still win, primarily because the non-Andrade vote will be split among six others. Andrade’s most formidable foes, each of whom have a base in the district, and fundraising ability, are Nancy Schiavone, a Logan Square attorney who is the 35th Ward Democratic Committeeman; Aaron Goldstein, a criminal defense attorney who was second chair on Rod Blagoiavich’s first corruption trial, and lead counsel on the second; and Bart Goldberg, an attorney who ran for 38thWard Alderman in 2011, getting 7.8 percent of the vote. Also, on the ballot are CPS librarian Melanie Ferrand, Mark Pasieka, and Wendy Jo Harmston.

The 40th District extends from Argyle Street on the north to Altgeld Street, between California and Kostner, and is bisected by the Kennedy expressway. According to the 2010 census, it is 45 percent white, with most concentrated in the area north of Irving Park Road, which is decidedly upscale, and in Logan square, in the southeast corner. It is 45 percent Hispanic, who are concentrated in the southwest of the Kennedy expressway between Irving Park and Logan Boulevard. According to Goldstein, about half the Hispanics are non-citizens, and non voters. The remaining 10 percent are Asian.

In the 2010 primary, Deb Mell initially had a serious challenger, Joe Liacona. Mell had moved, but failed to change her voter registration. Liacona challenged her residency, but Dick Mell’s high-priced lawyers prevailed. She beat Liacona 4,335-2,242 (65.9 percent), in a 6,577 turnout. In 2012, Deb Mell was unopposed, and turnout plunged to 4,011. The district contains 68 precincts, of which 21 are in Mell’s 33rd Ward, 16 in in the 35th Ward, and five in the 38th Ward.

Goldstein’s “Blagojevich connection” is no asset, especially since he was 0-for-2. Invariably, convicted defendants blame their lawyers, not themselves, so he can expect no help from the Mell Clan. Goldstein is energetic and creative, and will use adjectives like independent, reformer and progressive to describe himself; plus, he likely will be Labor’s choice. Andrade’s strategy will be to run as the incumbent, focus heavily on the Hispanic vote, and let mailers and door-knockers do the rest.

* Rep. Andrade is second on the ballot. Nancy Schiavone, the 35th Ward Democratic Committeeman, is at the top of the ballot. Mark Pasieka is at the bottom.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 9:46 am:

    I just think it’s pretty funny that Bruce ends up 4th. Can’t buy that one, buddy.

  2. - Aldyth - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 9:59 am:

    Rauner couldn’t buy first place? I’m sure he’d pay good money for it.

  3. - dupage dan - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:01 am:

    Yeah, Brady, et al, being ahead of Rauner will more than make up for the fact that they have less cash combined than Rauner paid for his new wardrobe.

  4. - wordslinger - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:19 am:

    The GOP gubernatorial primary is the big race. I suspect those that show up will know who they want to vote for.

  5. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:26 am:

    For me, if there arr 3 or more, I want to be “Rickey Bobby”….

    “If you ain’t first, you’re last”

    Yep. Three or more, first or last.

    Unless you get a cool ballot number …”Punch 10″ for a straight party back about a thousand years ago is something that resonated and was easy to remember, so if the “Punch” number is cool, or is workable, thann not being first or last is “OK”…

  6. - train111 - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:28 am:

    I doubt if it will make much difference in the Gubernatorial race or even 40th HD as alot of dough will probably be dropped there.
    I suspect it probably makes quite a difference in those multiple Cook County Judicial Races where there is alot of ‘ballot fatigue’ voting for multiple offices where you haven’t heard of any of the people running.

  7. - walkinfool - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:35 am:

    Good analysis. Makes sense.

  8. - DuPage Dave - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:38 am:

    Does anyone know who was listed first in the 2010 GOP primary?

  9. - Wensicia - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:45 am:

    I expect Rauner will be running commercials pointing out his position on the ballot, “Scan down, folks, until you see the correct choice!” right before the primary.

  10. - gesquire - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:47 am:

    Anybody running for office knows that it’s more important that your name is longer so it sticks out. Rutherford is second with the longer name. He will show up best if any of this matters for an office like governor.

  11. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    Wen, I’m sure you are right.

    “Hammer down to the bottom to Shake Up Springfield!”

    PS: Willy, great Ricky Bobby reference.

  12. - Nearly Normal - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:51 am:

    2010 GOP Primary for Gov
    1 Dillard
    2 Brady
    3 Schillerstrom
    4 Andrzeijewski
    5 Proft
    6 Ryan
    7 McKenna

    Source 2010 Republican Primary Ballot Results for McLean County, Illinois–I assume the order would be the same for all primary ballots in the state.

  13. - A guy... - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 11:06 am:

    At the top of the ballot, I think it matters a lot less. In a very unscientific poll I’ve done over the years, people tend to scan all the names first. If nothing jumps out at them, defaulting to the top position becomes more prominent. Down ballot, the position can make or break people. It’s stunning and disappointing how little time many people put into knowing who they’re voting for. That’s why person campaigning down ballot makes such a big difference. You really have to ask people to look for you.

  14. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 11:20 am:

    - AA -

    “That there is trademarked, not to be used without written permission of Ricky Bobby, Inc.”

    Guess I let the Cat out of the Bag …

    To the Post,

    While I have my thoughts, the Post itself is very well thought out and it is a great read on this sometimes “silly”(?) discussion. Great Post.

  15. - thechampaignlife - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 11:24 am:

    Seems we could nip this debate entirely by rotating the name order from ballot to ballot with a “form indicator” to let the scanners match up the vote with the right name during processing. It’s technically trival to accomplish but I’d guess about as likely to happen as leaving off party affiliation.

  16. - DuPage Rep - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 11:55 am:

    With the LGs on the ballot next to the Gov, Sanguinetti has the longer last name. Sorry Dan fans.

  17. - titan - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 2:11 pm:

    It is all sort of common sense, isn’t it?

    The less well known the office and candidate pool (and the bigger the candidate pool), the more likely the first or last gets picked rather than someone somewhere in the middle.

  18. - Rudykzooti - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 9:09 am:

    Russ Stewart? I read him for a laugh since he hasn’t gotten anything right in years…

  19. - steve schnorf - Friday, Dec 13, 13 @ 2:51 pm:

    Though it’s existence was obviously an anomaly, take a look at the bedsheet ballot to se if ballot position mattered

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* LIVE ELECTION RESULTS: Illinois House Republican primaries
* LIVE ELECTION RESULTS: Illinois House Democratic primaries
* LIVE ELECTION RESULTS: Illinois Senate Republican primaries
* LIVE ELECTION RESULTS: Illinois Senate Democratic primaries
* LIVE ELECTION RESULTS: Democratic congressional primaries
* LIVE ELECTION RESULTS: Republican congressional primaries
* LIVE ELECTION RESULTS: Democratic congressional primaries
* LIVE ELECTION RESULTS: Statewide primaries
* *** LIVE *** Sun-Times election night show, plus Rich Miller's updates
* Yesterday's stories

Visit our advertisers...








* Some Tri-County candidates win nomination witho.....
* Illinois primary could set up most expensive go.....
* How to reduce pedestrian fatalities in Chicago..
* Rauner and Ives hit the suburbs on last day to .....
* Illinois Primary 2018: GOP race between Rauner .....
* Lipinski's fate on the line as Illinois goes to.....
* Republican and Democratic gubernatorial candida.....
* Illinois Governor: Follow Election Results In B.....
* Illinois Governor: Follow Election Results In B.....
* Can Jesse White be the white knight Glenelg nee.....

* Breaking up with Facebook? It's harder than it looks
* Student accused of sexual assault sues over school dismissal
* Sexual assault charges filed against Chicago police officer
* 31 years taken off Aurora man's sentence for 2009 killing
* Police chief's start date could be delayed after shooting
* Benedictine University seeks selling campus as 1 parcel
* Excerpts from recent editorials in newspapers in Illinois
* Western Illinois state's attorney dies of heart attack at 39
* 'Chewbacca' delivers good news to boy who needs heart transplant
* 5 plead guilty in dog fighting ring that operated across US

* SIU to consider Springfield for law school satellite office
* Illinois primary could set up most expensive governor's race ever
* 'Nice flow' of voting in Sangamon County
* Daley family legacy runs deep in Illinois, Chicago
* Candidates scramble to finish line as Election Day arrives
* Candidates for Illinois governor spend $65.7 million on TV ads –– just for the primaries
* Security of state voter rolls a concern as primaries begin
* As primaries loom, downstate Democrats look for a way back
* Pritzker defends putting $69.5 million of his fortune into campaign
* Illinois governor race more fierce, costly as primary nears

* Friends of the Parks seeks donations after Lucas Museum groundbreaking
* In the future, there will be a distillery on every corner
* AbbVie CEO earned $20 million-plus for 4th straight year
* Orbitz hack may have compromised 880,000 credit cards
* McDonald's aims to boost its green bona fides

* Prosecutors: Married couple bilked city out of nearly $1M in contracting scheme
* Missouri inmate gets 2nd stay of execution from high court
* Chicago area youth say ‘March For Our Lives’ demands end to city’s gun violence
* ‘Crazy experience’: Kyle Fuller happy to be back after Bears match Packers offer
* Emails show FEMA silent amid chaos after Hurricane Maria
* Police: String of burglaries reported in Bridgeport
* Black Lives Matter among groups that get legal voice in CPD consent decree talks
* Person critically injured in crash in unincorporated Lake County
* Man charged after stolen handguns found during traffic stop in Gary
* O’Hare Express competition down to two — and Elon Musk is one of them

* Illinois primary election 2018 live coverage
* Former Bears coach John Fox joining ESPN as NFL analyst
* Explosives found in 2nd package after blast at Texas FedEx facility linked to serial bomber
* Now that White Sox have sent Michael Kopech down, when will he be back up?
* Teen shoots girl in Maryland school, dies in confrontation
* Voters to choose which Republican will face Schneider in 10th Congressional District
* Trump's national security advisers warned him not to congratulate Putin. He did it anyway.
* Documents: Key design change stymied bridge cost, schedule
* Betsy DeVos says she would visit low-performing schools, but 'will they let me in?'
* Bears restricted free agent WR Cameron Meredith visits Colts and is expected to meet with another team

» Deep Tunnel Still Leaves Residents In Deep S**t
» 2018 Illinois Primary Election Results
» March 19, 2018 - Full Show
» Two Woman Accuse Former Tronc Chairman Michael Ferro Of Sexual Misconduct
» Two Women Accuse Former Tronc Chairman Michael Ferro Of Sexual Misconduct
» New Book Highlights Important African American Women In Chicago History
» What’s A Democratic Ward Organization?
» Primary Day Is Tomorrow: The Gubernatorial Candidates, Fact-Checking, And Your Voting Rights
» A Feisty Debate, Offshore Accounts — And Some Side-Eye
» WBEZ’s Chicago and Illinois News Roundup: March 16, 2018

* SIU to consider Springfield for law school satellite office
* Illinois primary could set up most expensive governor's race ever
* 'Nice flow' of voting in Sangamon County
* Dave Ramsey: Mom stole my student loan money — now what?
* The Mom Stop: Packing requires expertise
* Shayne Looper: Trust God, not Alexa
* Daley family legacy runs deep in Illinois, Chicago
* Candidates scramble to finish line as Election Day arrives
* EJ Dionne: The principle behind anti-Trump pragmatism
* Candidates for Illinois governor spend $65.7 million on TV ads –– just for the primaries

* In opening arguments, defense says man accused in 2016 fatal Carbondale shooting acted in self-defense
* Pancheros expands Quad-City presence to west Davenport
* PHOTOS: Primary Election Day Around Macon County
* Five at 5: It's Election Day, polls are open until 7 p.m. and 4 other stories to see
* Taylorville triple-shooting suspect dies after shooting himself in the face
* Primary election attracting low turnout
* Stern makes plans for RI block
* SIUC Faculty Senate president steps down
* PHOTOS: Fire at Stone Crossing Apartments
* RI alderman files complaint over Realtor's post

* Republicans making their pick for DuPage sheriff
* Polls close in GOP primary for Foster's 11th congressional seat
* Elgin wants to cap tourism bureau salaries
* Rauner and Ives hit the suburbs on last day to vote
* Clerk: No suburban irregularities in assessor's race

* Dem Rep. Mike Quigley: Paul Ryan Is "Enabl...
* Dem Rep. Mike Quigley: Paul Ryan Is "Enabl...
* 'I used bad judgment': 14th Congressional ...
* Doc Dressed As Chewbacca Tells Teen He's G...
* The primaries and the 'Land of Lincoln': V...
* Hultgren fires aide after sexual encounter...
* Hultgren aide fired after scandal - The Ca...
* River Town Chronicles: Randy Hultgren is T...
* 'I used bad judgment': 14th Congressional ...
* 14th Democratic hopefuls talk guns at Bata...

* Sen. Dick Durbin Calls On Congress To Halt......
* Illinois Primary: Democrats Wage Internal ......
* Durbin calls for drug treatment over harsh......
* 'Chain Migration' Used to Be a Benign Term......
* Shutdown looming, Congress and White House......

* Dem Iraq War vets renew AUMF push on 15th ......
* Iraq War vet Dems question lessons learned......
* Illinois Primary: Democrats Wage Internal ......
* Sen. Tammy Duckworth will make history as ......
* Sen. Tammy Duckworth on being the first se......

* Professor on online activities: They get ‘students talking more and me talking less’
* Race and Gender Bias in Online Courses
* Online MBA With Data Analytics In High Demand
* Coursera to offer degrees from UK universities
* Bolstering Academic Integrity in the Online Classroom
* 4 Things to Know About the Gadget That Will Charge Devices in Seconds
* It's almost over....
* Alliance Grids - Take 3 - Subcircuits 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15
* The 2018 James Beard Awards nominees are . . .
* ‘The minute you're bored, you're not doing your job,’ says Shahna Richman, FBI agent turned bodyguard and security expert

* February Flooding Information
* IEMA Urges People to Prepare for Severe Weather
* Governor issues state disaster proclamation for flooding in Iroquois, Kankakee, Vermilion Counties
* Winter Storm Warnings for Areas Along and North of I-80
* IEMA Encourages People to Prepare for Earthquakes

* Facebook isn’t a company. It’s a country that needs to be sanctioned
* Review: Beyerdynamic’s Aventho Wireless will make you reconsider your giant headphones
* About 56 million Spotify shares up for grabs on April 3
* OnePlus 6 design rumors, Huawei P20 Pro camera teaser & more – Pocketnow Daily
* Sleep++ App for Apple Watch Now Offers Automatic Sleep Tracking
* WhatsApp co-founder tells everyone to delete Facebook
* Android Oreo hits AT&T Galaxy S8, not apparently S8+

* Abreu exits with left hamstring tightness
* Top pitching prospect Kopech reassigned
* Abreu exits with left hamstring tightness
* Abreu exits with left hamstring tightness
* Spring Stats Glance
* Kopech, Sox No. 2 prospect, reassigned
* Top pitching prospect Kopech reassigned

Main Menu
Pundit rankings
Subscriber Content
Blagojevich Trial
Updated Posts

March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004

Blog*Spot Archives
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005


RSS Feed 2.0
Comments RSS 2.0

Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller