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Do GOP Voters Care About Electability?

- December 14, 2011

Alex Lundry and I have a new post up at Model Politics.  In a YouGov survey from last week, we included an experiment.  After GOP voters had been asked which candidate they supported in the primary, we randomly assigned them to see Intrade probabilities for the GOP nomination, for the general election, or both.  Then we asked them a second time which candidate they supported.  The goal was to see whether knowing something about electability would change their preferences.  Indeed, it did:

In the graph we examine all respondents, regardless of which probabilities they saw.  In total, 35% of them changed their preference.  And unsurprisingly, they moved to the two candidates who did best on Intrade: Gingrich and Romney.

Our post has further details, such as:

* Romney is helped by his general election probability much more than his nomination probability.

* About 25% of Gingrich supporters defect to Romney after they’ve seen the general election numbers from Intrade.

* Paul and Johnson voters tend to move to Romney.  Bachmann, Perry, and Santorum voters tend to move to Gingrich.

Ultimately, our results suggest that GOP voters are indeed willing to change their votes.  Moreover, they suggest that strategic considerations like electability can be persuasive.

See more in the post.