Professors John Carey and Brendan Nyhan, members of the Steering Committee of the Program in Quantitative Social Science (QSS) at Dartmouth College, are co-authors of a recently published article, "The Effect of Electoral Inversions on Democratic Legitimacy: Evidence from the United States" in British Journal of Political Science. Shun Yamaya, a former pre-doctoral fellow in QSS, is a co-author of this article as well. Shun is presently pursuing his doctorate in the Department of Political Science at Stanford University and is studying American Politics. Shun spent the 2019-20 academic year in QSS, working with Brightline Watch, assisting with various projects and administrating surveys.
Also joining the Dartmouth group of co-authors on the electoral inversions article were Gretchen Helmke of the University of Rochester, Mitch Sanders of Bright Line Watch, and Susan Stokes of the University of Chicago.
The abstract of the article is as follows:
When a party or candidate loses the popular vote but still wins the election, do voters view the winner as legitimate? This scenario, known as an electoral inversion, describes the winners of two of the last six presidential elections in the United States. We report results from two experiments testing the effect of inversions on democratic legitimacy in the US context. Our results indicate that inversions significantly decrease the perceived legitimacy of winning candidates. Strikingly, this effect does not vary with the margin by which the winner loses the popular vote, nor by whether the candidate benefiting from the inversion is a co-partisan. The effect is driven by Democrats, who punish inversions regardless of candidate partisanship; few effects are observed among Republicans. These results suggest that the experience of inversions increases sensitivity to such outcomes among supporters of the losing party.