University of Mississippi

Who Wants to Discuss Vote Choices with Others? Polarization in Preferences for Deliberation

pubopquarterlyGerber, Alan S., Gregory A. Huber, David Doherty, Conor M. Dowling, and Seth J. Hill. Forthcoming. “Who Wants to Discuss Vote Choices with Others? Polarization in Preferences for Deliberation.” Public Opinion Quarterly.

ABSTRACT
Should people discuss their vote choices with others? On one hand, many people argue that openly deliberating with others can lead to better decision-making. On the other hand, institutions like the secret ballot imply that keeping these choices secret has value, perhaps as a means of insulating people from unwanted social pressures. This paper examines public attitudes about whether it is best to discuss one’s choices with others or to treat them as personal matters. We find that the American public is evenly divided on this issue. We also find that those who are least confident in their political capabilities—those who arguably could benefit most from deliberating about their vote choices—are most likely to say that choices should be treated as personal matters. Our findings have implications for understanding the role of political deliberation in the United States.