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The Season of Our Discontent: Voters’ Views on California Elections

Summary

Over the past 20 years, two particular trends have emerged in California politics: Gubernatorial campaigns have spent increasing, record amounts of money—most of it on negative TV commercials attacking opponents. And at the same time, a growing percentage of voters have signaled their disaffection for negative campaigns by simply staying away from the polls. In this study, the authors use their findings from 10 surveys of over 20,000 Californians conducted during the 2002 election cycle to examine the disconnect between politicians and the public in California. The surveys show a high degree of dissatisfaction among Californians with their choice of candidates and the way campaigns are run in the state. They are highly supportive of campaign reforms, including candidate debates, public disclosure, finance reform, and pledges of campaign conduct.

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