Voting Green n

Travis G. Coan, Claremont Graduate University Mirya R. Holman, Claremont Graduate University
Objectives. Economics, partisanship, and demographics have all been identified as linked to support for environmental protection. The principal objective of this study is to extend the extant literature by using a larger data set and a variety of methods. Methods. We use variety of statistical methods to test measures of party strength, demographics, and economics against county-level data from 29 environmental initiative elections in 13 states. Results. Democratic partisanship is the most consistent predictor of aggregate support for environmental measures. This trend holds through pooled, individual-level, and ecological inference analysis. Median family income and income squared are consistently significant, as is education. Conclusion. Based on these data, we reach three general conclusions. First, while several variables are consistently significant, party strength is the most consistent predictor of pro-environmental voting across states and initiatives. Second, our analyses suggest that limiting analyses to data from a single state or region may have important implications for statistical inferences. Lastly, a preliminary analysis using methods of ecological inference suggests that the aggregate results are robust to ecological problems.

A number of recent studies have examined environmental voting behavior by using county-level election returns (cf. Kahn and Matsusaka, 1997; Press, 2003). Most of these studies use a single state or region to test their arguments, thus limiting the general applicability of the extant literature. We expand on the extant literature in three ways: first, we use a national sample of 29 initiatives from 13 states. Second, we demonstrate that using a limited data set can have serious inferential implications. Finally, we show that although using aggregate-level data exposes researchers to the potential for an ecological fallacy, new techniques and a careful examination of the data provide additional confidence in aggregate-level results. These findings generally show consistent aggregate relationships across analyses and suggest that aggregate empirical results are essential to making general theoretical claims. We begin our analysis with a review of the literature, followed by
n Direct correspondence to Mirya Holman, 2808 Lexington St., Durham, NC 27707 h mirya.holman.@cgu.edu i . Mirya Holman will share all data and coding information with those who wish to replicate this study. An earlier version of this article was presented at the 2007 Annual Southern Political Science Association Conference, New Orleans, LA. The authors thank their discussant from the panel and their co-presenters for their valuable comments and suggestions. They are also grateful to Dr. Robert Lineberry and three anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

SOCIAL SCIENCE QUARTERLY, Volume 89, Number 5, December 2008 r 2008 by the Southwestern Social Science Association

This dichotomy has led researchers to suggest that there is a nonlinear relationship between income and environmental preference (Kahn and Matsusaka. golf clubs) and thus may view environmental concern as a redistributive policy (Salka. Relevant Literature Economic Explanations of Environmental Preferences Literature tying economics to environmental preferences relies on the theory that the environment is. 2001. a good. Previous research has also suggested a connection between the extractive industry effect and rural areas (Salka. Lowe and Pinhey. Like any other good. individuals value the environment at varying levels. and environmental support. Salka. 1997. which translates into varying levels of support for environmental protection. Noneconomic Explanations of Environmental Preferences Beyond the effects of economic factors on preference for environmental goods. as increases in income often result in increases in willingness to pay for public goods (Kahn and Matsusaka. However. 2001). with some scholars confirming the expected negative relationship (Kahn and Matsusaka. Closely related to research on the relationship between income and proenvironmental behavior is the connection between extractive industries. 1978). Many authors theorize that a positive relationship should exist between economic prosperity and environmental concern. those individuals who value resource-intensive or extractive industries (through employment or proximity to those employed) will be much less likely to support environmental protection. 2001) and others failing to find a relationship (Alm and Witt. urban and rural areas. the richest contingent of the population may already purchase private goods to replace the environmental public goods (private parks. Howell-Moroney (2004) challenges Romero and Lisereo’s work. 1997). 1997.1122 Social Science Quarterly pooled and individual analyses of the environmental initiatives. essentially. 2001). Research on the relationship between industry and environmental preferences has produced mixed results. and conclude with an examination of whether our aggregate analysis holds up when taking problems of ecological inference into account. Tremblay and Dunlap. Kotchen and Powers use data on voting for open-space conservation to find that higher funding rates tend to decrease voter approval (2006:382). 1997. a considerable number of studies have examined the effect of so- . Other authors have posited that the form and function of the economics behind environmental voting can affect environmental preferences. 1982). and suggests that the urban-rural difference is the result of differing land-use patterns. Salka. Romero and Liserio (2002) posit that the urban-rural distinction is a function of growth machine politics. Theoretically.

We use initiative voting as our principal determinate of environmental preferences for three reasons. 1975). Table 1 presents a complete list of the initiatives used and shows that the analysis includes conservation-.Voting Green 1123 ciological and political factors on environmental preferences. 2002). initiative voting is one opportunity to study realized preferences. . 1980). we collected county-level voting records of 29 initiatives from 13 states. Jones and Dunlap. 1992. using ballot propositions allows us to examine environmental preferences across years and states. Xiao. the substantive effects of this variable are generally weak (Howell and Laska. and McCright (2001) found that partisanship was a strong indicator of environmental preference. Research has found that education is an excellent predictor of propensity to protect the environment (Van Liere and Dunlap. pollution-. Davis and Wurth. instead of stated preferences (Guber. In addition to partisanship. 2001. Kahn and Matsusaka. Empirically. Press (2003) evaluates preference for environmental goods in California and finds that partisanship is the single most successful predictor of environmental preference. 2003). To develop our data set. we identified all states that have active initiative voting in the period 1994–2005. This research allows us to be reasonably confident that we are measuring the actual preferences of voters when using election returns. Dunlap. The second reason we use initiative data is that a long line research finds that voters are able to evaluate and process information about initiatives. Finally. Deacon and Shapiro. Although these studies have found partisanship to be a statistically significant predictor of environmental preference. studies generally confirm the expected positive relationship between education and proenvironmental preferences (Salka. Data and Methodology Dependent Variables To examine the factors driving environmental preferences at the aggregate level. in order to determine which factors have a consistent relationship with environmental preferences. We then used a qualitative analysis to identify all initiatives that dealt with an environment issue. 1997) and some scholars suggest that age is an important predictor of environmental preferences. 2001. while Uyeki and Holland (2000) show that ideology and partisanship had a significant impact on three sets of pro-environment attitudes. the scholarship has identified several demographic variables that have an effect on environmental preferences. Bowler and Donovan. and development-related referenda. and are able to ‘‘vote correctly’’ on ballot propositions (cf. 1992). with younger people more likely to support the environment because they have been socialized in an environmentally conscience culture (Kahn. 1994. First.

2001). we gathered election returns at the county level. and Trawl Fishing be Prohibited? . we derived our primary TABLE 1 Initiatives Used in the Analyses State Arizona Arizona Arizona California California Colorado Colorado Florida Florida Florida Florida Florida Florida Maine Maine Michigan Michigan Missouri Montana Montana New Jersey North Dakota North Dakota Ohio Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Washington Initiative 102 202 303 50 7 26 37 1 3 5 5 6 6 1 2b 38750 c a 122 137 2 1 1 1 34 37 64 66 696 Year 2000 2000 1998 2002 1998 2001 2004 2000 1994 1996 1998 1996 2004 1997 1996 2002 1998 2000 1996 1998 2005 2000 2002 2000 2004 1996 1998 1998 1999 Title Wildlife Management Citizen Growth Management Open Space Land Water Quality Supply Air Quality Improvement High-Speed Public Transportation Renewable Energy Requirement To Reduce Traffic and Increase Travel Alternatives Limit Marine Net Fishing Responsibility for Paying Costs of Water Pollution Abatement Conservation of Natural Resources Establishes Everglade Trust Fund for Conservation and Protection Repeal of High Speed Rail Amendment Promoting Sustainable Forest Management Practices Promoting Sustainable Forest Management Practices Authorization of Bonds for Water Pollution and Projects Bonds for Environmental & Natural Resource Protection Outdoor Advertising Requires the Removal of Specific Pollutants Prior to Dilution Prohibits Cyanide Open Pit Mining for Gold and Silver Air Quality Reform Related to Hunting Eliminates the Property Tax Exemption for Conservation Land To Issue Bonds for Environmental Conservation and Revitalization Requires Balancing Timber Production Broadens Types of Beverage Containers Requiring Deposit Prohibits Many Present Timber Harvest Practices Amends Constitution: Dedicates Some Lottery Funding to Parks Shall Commercial Net.1124 Social Science Quarterly After identifying the initiatives. Troll. We used county-level data. Alm and Witt. Using these data. Salka. as the county is often the smallest unit of analysis available and using county-level data mirrors much of the previous work on initiative voting behavior and environmental preferences (cf. 1997.

demographics. Thus. while pooling data is the norm in empirical studies of initiative data 1 Data on voting behavior are from Dave Leip’s (2006) Atlas of U. To this end. 1997. to create a rough measure of the mean political beliefs in each county. Presidential Elections. including issues related to aggregate data analysis and pooling data across time and space. The first set of independent variables used focus on the economic state of each county. we incorporate the ecological inference methods described in King (1997) to a sample of environmental ballot propositions. Census. 1979). . median age. we examine a range of economic. an extended scholarship has established that aggregate relationships between variables do not imply individual relationships (King. To measure aggregate political preferences. however. and 2004. 2000. voting behavior indicates that aggregate-level voting data are often quite similar to individual voting data (Fischel. Independent Variables To examine the core propositions of the environmental voting literature. Before specifying the statistical model. and the percent of the population employed in a resource-dependent industry (including agriculture. 2003) and thus we want to make clear that the aggregate statistical analysis is only appropriate for making aggregate-level inferences. in the last section of this study. including population. the percent of the population living in an urban area. we utilize standard ordinary least squares (OLS) estimates to arrive at our statistical results. Census. Press. and demographic variables. we take problems associated with the ecological fallacy seriously. Data on economics. along with the square of median household income. political. First. forestry. Finally. and employment are from the 2000 U.S.S.1 Methodology Given that the dependent variable used in this analysis is continuous. we use data on median household incomes in each county from the U. we use data on the average margin of victory for Democratic presidential candidates in 1996. and mining). Second. We employ the original measure and the squared measure in the hopes of determining whether the aggregate economic state of a county has a curvilinear relationship with environmental initiative voting patterns. hunting and fishing. it is important to address a variety of statistical issues associated with our data set.S. we use measures from the existing literature. the percent of the population with a bachelor’s degree or higher.S.Voting Green 1125 dependent variable by subtracting the percentage of individuals in a given county that voted in favor of an environmental initiative by the percentage of individuals voting against the initiative. While research on U.

058 — — — 0. or dummy variables.58 Minimum À 0. . Table 2 indicates that income and income squared are highly significant.1126 Social Science Quarterly (Salka.030) À 0.18E-05 n n n (4.368 — — — 0.032 — À 0.05. to control for differences across states and time.17E-06) À 1.405 (0.042) 0. This statistical analysis suggests that while it is important to include regional controls.103 — 0. To address this issue.845 n n n (0.11E-10 n n n (4.06E-11) 0. problems associated with unequal variance across pooled observations may affect the validity of statistical results (Sayers.058 — — — 0. n npo0. 2001). The coefficient on income has the expected positive TABLE 2 Aggregate Environmental Voting: Statistical Significance and Substantive Effects Substantive Effects Variable Income Income2 Industry Party strength Education Age Urban population Constant N F probability R2 adjusted n Full Model 1. Empirical Findings To provide a general account of which variables influence environmental voting.058 — — — Maximum À 0.002 (0.143) 710 .095 — À 0.137 — — — po0. Substantive effects were calculated by changing individual variables. Looking at the results. as well as the robust standard error associated with each coefficient.129) À 0. one at a time.01.10.026 — — — 0.000 .015 — — — 0.002) 0.302 n n n (0. we analyzed a series of models that included two-way fixed effects. while holding all the variables at their mean values.004 — — — Mean 0.133 n n n (0.112) 0. from their minimum to mean to maximum values. Table 2 presents unstandardized regression coefficients.058 — 0.140 (0. n n npo0. 1989).064 — — — À 0.058 — 0. we use initiative data pooled across states.244 — 0. it is appropriate to assume environmental voting preferences are stable over time.

and maximum value of the independent variables.9 percentage points of total movement. . negative values represent a defeat for an environmental measure and positive values represent a victory due the construction of our dependent variable. According to Table 2. Turning next to party strength. but it fails to determine which variables are significant in a substantive sense. Table 2 indicates that as the mean margin of victory for Democratic presidential candidates increases. the results suggest that the level of expressed Democratic partisanship in a county (or the strength of the Democratic Party in a county) has a positive and statistically significant impact on pro-environmental voting.700).Voting Green 1127 sign. This finding seems to contradict Salka (2001). we find a predicted change in voting results from a 1. while median age fails to reach statistical significance at traditional levels. Statistical significance provides useful information on the likely relationships among variables. mean. 2 State and time fixed effects were set to zero.2 To refresh. while holding all other variables at their mean levels. Calvert. so does the likelihood that the county will pass pro-environmental referendums.531) to the mean level of income ($36. however. 1979.. Thus.5 percent margin of defeat to a 5. these columns provide the estimated margin of victory or defeat associated with the minimum.g. To examine substantive significance. Table 2 also indicates that education and the urbanization of each county are significant. while the sign for income squared is negative. who finds that the urban-rural distinction becomes insignificant when industry and demographic variables are included. For example.8 percent margin of victory (as shown in the first row of Table 2). if a county moves from the minimum level of median income in our sample ($19. education has the largest substantive effect. These columns use the estimated coefficients from the full model to predict the value of our dependent variable based on hypothetical changes in key independent variables. Specifically. Moving partisanship from its minimum to its maximum level leads to 33. mean expressed partisanship follows close behind education. Van Liere and Dunlap. The extractive industry measure fails to maintain statistical significance when the influences of education and urbanization are included in the model. as well as the importance of the urban-rural distinction (Tremblay and Dunlap. This suggests that the relationship between income and support for the environment takes on an ‘‘inverted U’’ shape. The model seems to provide further support for arguments based on the importance of education (e. 1978). we supplement the statistical results with the last three columns in Table 2. or that pro-environmental preferences and county-level median incomes have a positive relationship up to a certain critical point ($51.3 percentage points in total movement. representing 7.000 according to these data) and then decrease with additional income. 1980).

Turning first to air pollution. results may change significantly based on the geographic area. This finding is not surprising given that we built multicollinearity into the model by using the polynomial design for income. as party strength no longer displays statistical significance at traditional levels. the results highlight the inferential problems associated with using single-state (or single-initiative) analysis. 1996). we examine a sample of six environmental initiatives dealing with similar issues (at similar times) in diverse regions around the country. However. one initiative from the Northeast (New Jersey 2. the impact of income is in the opposite direction expected based on theoretical expectations. For instance. the contradictory results hold when testing a number of restrictions. We suggest that the cleavage in the scholarship is due to contextual factors that have affected the results of the contradictory analyses. 1998 and California 50. these analyses allow us to compare the predicted support for each measure to the aggregate results provided in Table 2 and thus allow us to approximate the importance of ‘‘context’’ in interpreting voting results. the results for Proposition 7 in California are generally consistent with the aggregate results.3 The upper half of Table 3 replicates the empirical analysis conducted in Table 2 for the six separate initiatives. income and party strength seem to be having an effect. The same results hold when examining Proposition 5 in Florida ( p 5 0. and one initiative from the Southeast (Florida 6. the results are different for Proposition 2 in Michigan. Does having a larger data set provide insight into this debate? Our data seems to suggest that both matter at the aggregate level. however. 4 All these regressions suffer from high levels of multicollinearity. In New Jersey. Moreover.1128 The Importance of Context Social Science Quarterly Our analyses in the previous section generally confirm that both politics and economics are drivers of pro-environmental initiative voting at the state and regional level. Essentially. The contradictory results hold when using standard F tests. Variable inflation factor tests (VIF) are consistently over 10 in most analyses. a reading of the extant literature suggests that a cleavage exists between those who argue for economic drivers of environmental voting. Although it is statistically inappropriate to make direct comparisons across the two states. making interpretation difficult. organized by the type of environmental issue. Null results generally characterize the findings for Florida and Montana. the results are equally confusing for the water pollution issue. . Nevertheless.26). To demonstrate.44). two initiatives from the Midwest (Montana 122. 2005). In California (Proposition 50). as they suggest that party strength and education were important predictors of pro-environmental voting. 1996 and Michigan 2. while income and the percent urban population now seem to have an effect. 2002). However.4 3 We focus on two initiatives from the West Coast (California 7. party strength continues to offer explanatory power. and those who argue for political drivers. 2002). while median age and the percent of the population in urban areas are highly significant. a test of the joint significance for income and income squared for Proposition 7 in California confirms the insignificant findings ( p 5 0. These results indicate that even among similar issues.

118 n (0.000 0.066) À 0.256) 0.003) 0.22 (0.10E-10) 0.771 n n n (0.059 (0.607 n n n (0.133 (0.36E-11) À 0.119) 0.079 (0.003) 0.59E-10 (1.75E-11 (7.05) 0.051 (0.000 0.89E-11) 0. 2002 NJ 2.450) À 0.88E-05 (5.456 (0. 1996 nnn n Voting Green Air Pollution MI 2.TABLE 3 The Importance of Context Water Pollution CA 50.053) 0.03) 0.046) À 0.82 (0.01) 0.03) 0.02) 0.897 Ecological Inference 0.000 0.272) 0.32E-10 n n n (5.522) 0.005) 0.042) À 0.860 1.010) 0.01) 0.03) 1129 . 1998 MT 122.000 0.256) À 0.019 n n (0.255 6.175) 0.057) 0.91E-05 (7.265) 0. 1996 Income Income2 Industry Party strength Education Age Urban Constant N R2 3.037 (0.594 Party Democrat Republican 0.345 (0.406) À 0.027 (0.691 À 1.00E-10 (6.730 n n n (0.403 (1.11 (0.56 (0.004 (0.13 (0.320 (0.49 (0.002 (0.18E-05) À 1.176) 0.79 (0.26 (0.451) 21.007 n n n (0. 2005+ Variable CA 7.000 0.198) 58.187) 0.000 0.79E-11) À 0.19 (0.65E-10) À 0.01) 0.923 À 5.14E-09) À 0.243 (0.989 n n n (0.928 n n n (0.23E-05 (6.02) 2.49 (0.074) 0.004) 0.342 n (0.735 (0.81E-06) 7.045 (0.80E-11 (4.04) 0.195) 56.91E-06 (5.84E-06) À 2.008 n n n (0.854 (0.15E-05 (1.392 (0. 2002 FL 5.007) À 0.242) À 0.396) 0.241) 58.239 n n n (0.79E-05 (5.47 (0.641 (0.328 (0.10E-09 (1.179 (0.480) 0.118) À 0.007 (0.105) 67.01) 0.276) 83.271 n n n (0.161) 0.073) 0.07E-06) À 3.18 (0.02) 0.02E-05) À 1.802 (1.192 (0.02E-05) 8.554 (0.685) 0.

n n npo0. Social Science Quarterly .66 (0.06 (0.02) 0. n npo0.10.01) 0.01) n + po0. 2006).01) 0.05.01) 0.16 (0. 1998 Education % ! B.01) 0. 2005+ FL 5.01.A.00) %oB.03) 0. 2002 Variable CA 7.01) 0.63 (0. 1996 MT 122. we felt it important to examine New Jersey in our analysis as this state has been used in regional-level voting studies in the past (see Kotchen and Powers. 2002 NJ 2. 0. It is important to point out that New Jersey is a small state (with only 21 counties) and thus a statistical model may be prone to a ‘‘degree of freedom’’ problem.00) 0. However.18 (0.25 (0.06 (0. 1996 Air Pollution MI 2.01) 0.16 (0.01) 0.66 (0.03 (0. 0.1130 TABLE 3—continued Water Pollution CA 50.67 (0.A.25 (0.

The juxtaposition between the results of our first and second sets of analyses shows that there is a need to complete both aggregate and individual analysis.9% 28. Second. education (as we discussed earlier in Table 2) is the most substantively significant of the predictors.0% 25.Voting Green FIGURE 1 1131 Individual Initiative Regression Results (Percentage of Times Each Variable is Significant at the 10 Percent Error Level. we analyzed each of the 29 initiatives in our sample individually to examine the importance of context in environmental initiative voting patterns. researchers should use a general sample of initiatives if they wish to make general claims on the drivers of environmental voting. Finally. party strength is.0% 67. . it is clear that the location and type of initiative have an enormous effect on which variables matter.5 Party strength is significant in 19 out of 29 regressions or close to 70 percent of the time.9% 25. This exercise demonstrates that the empirical inconsistencies found in the literature on the correlates of environmental voting may be associated with the state and specific type of initiative used in a given analysis. To do this. the most consistently significant of the variables. by far. we can provide a preliminary connection between generality and specificity.6% 17. these results suggest that selection bias may affect the outcomes of research findings when using environmental initiative data. How does one reconcile the need to generalize with the necessity to be specific? We suggest that by analyzing each initiative on its own.0% What do these analyses imply for researchers using initiative elections? First. As shown in the figure. While Also Displaying the Correct Sign) 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Income IncomeSquared Party Strength Education Age Industry Urban 32. Figure 1 displays the number of initiatives in which each variable in our base model is both significant at the 10 percent error level and displays the correct theoretical sign. and then looking at the frequency at which variables are statistically significant. A number of other variables 5 Please note that while party strength is the most consistent predictor.1% 25.

. including income and income squared. this is an estimate of the likelihood that a Democrat (or Republican) voter who turned out in the 6 These models perform well. p P NibT lb w i using the formula: Lb ¼ (we used an analogous formula to calculate L . we estimate the proportion of Democratic or educated voters in a given state who voted in favor of the environmental initiative. 2003 for a notable exception). as expressed preferences are often only available at the aggregate level. the number with a bachelors degree or higher.8 Using this information. age.97759 (Maine Initiative 2b in 1996). Democrat or not a Democrat) and thus additional data (including the number of register voters and turn-out rates) were used for this analysis. and the percent of the population that lives in an urban area. These analyses rely on Gary King and Ken Benoit’s EzI statistical software to compute the various quantities of interest. i . we employ the ecological inference method developed in King (1997). reported in the lower half of Table 3.7 These estimates rely on three primary pieces of data and a three-stage estimation process. we estimate the proportion of Democratic voters or educated persons taking a pro-environmental stance on a ballot measure. The bottom half of Table 3 provides the approval likelihood estimates at the state level for each of the six initiatives. all as a percentage of the votingage population. education. but the individual remains the unit of interest. Second. These criticisms apply equally to studies using environmental election returns—although few studies address the problem directly (see Press. we restrict our focus to the six individual initiatives analyzed in Table 3 and estimate individual relationships from the aggregate data for party strength and education.6 Ecological Inference and Aggregate Voting Data Ecological inference problems plague the voting behavior literature. In the analyses that follow. we first estimate the proportion of Democratic voters or educated persons that voted in the initiative election. Essentially. 8 Ecological inference methods require researchers to organize their data as a series of binary statements (e. Lastly.1132 Social Science Quarterly fall in and out of significance. The equation represents a weighted average of the county-level parameters. with an R2 ranging from 0. King (1997) has shown that this methodology provides consistent estimates of ecological data.9 This provides us with the data necessary to complete the ecological inference calculations.g. These data came directly from each state’s voting bureau. with many of the models explaining more than 75 percent of the variance in voting patterns. see King N bT 1997:28–34). 9 We calculated the aggregate quantities of interest. To examine the sensitivity of our results to inferential problems. The data used include the number of individuals voting for the Democratic presidential candidate. we use a generalized method of bounds and maximum likelihood estimates to calculate the individual quantities of interest. and the number taking a ‘‘proenvironmental’’ stance on a ballot measure.259 (Florida Initiative 5 in 1996) to 0. particularly when sample sizes are large and void of aggregation bias. 7 More specifically.

the likelihood of support for the pro-environment position among Democratic partisans who voted in the election ranges from a low of 26 percent in Michigan to a high of 82 percent in Florida. Turning next to education. the relationship expressed appears to be curvilinear. Not only does the ‘‘inverted U’’ shape relationship appear in our aggregate model.Voting Green 1133 election voted in a pro-environmental manner. As shown in the top row of the second half of Table 3. multiyear sample of data provided us with an opportunity to reach several general conclusions with respect to voting for environmental issues. More specifically. but the relationship holds across the majority of individual regressions where income returns significant results. to the extent that income is significant in our models. This finding highlights the necessity of using general data to make general statements. the likelihood of approval among Democrats is consistently (and significantly) higher than for non-Democrats. the likelihood of support among educated persons ranges from 16 percent in California to 67 percent in Florida. and may explain the contradictions in the literature. while income. while the results from the aggregate analysis are similar to those found in single-state and regional studies. we continue to find support for the aggregate models. in terms of aggregate behavior. This process allows us to be much more confident in our aggregate results. Moreover. Moreover. current economic. and age are also important to understanding aggregate environmental preferences. As shown in the bottom half of the table. context matters. the wealth of research opportunities available to researchers interested in studying both general and specific phenomena in environmental voting. the average distance among college graduates and those without a college degree was 20 percent (or close to 15 percent less than party strength). The only case that failed to conform to the general pattern was Proposition 2 in New Jersey. while we find consistent patterns in the aggregate data. The results in Table 3 provide evidence that selection bias may affect a researcher’s inferences when conducting a single-state analysis. For party strength. and provides us with a stronger basis with which to infer causality and correlation. education. First. providing further support for our earlier analysis. Discussion and Conclusion Using a national. and the need for careful comparative work when making causal statements about environmental voting behavior. Second. political. Partisan behavior appears to be the most consistent predictor of environmental voting behavior. the individual results presented in Table 3 suggest the need for further qual- . and exceeds those of the less educated in five out of six cases. The level of support among Democrats exceeds those of Republican partisans in all six initiatives. and demographic explanations of environmental preferences perform well.

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