The Prediction of Voting Behaviour in a Nuclear Energy Referendum

Bowman, C.H., Fishbein, M., Otway, H.J., & Thomas, K. (1978). The Prediction of Voting Behaviour in a Nuclear Energy Referendum. IIASA Research Memorandum. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: RM-78-008

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This report describes an application of Fishbein's model of intention formation to a study of voting choice in a nuclear energy ballot in the USA. The sample was randomly selected from the general public (N = 89). The model successfully predicted bvoting intention (multiple regression coefficient = .92) using two major variables: attitudes to the act of voting CON and subjective norms, i.e. the voter's perceptions of how the people or groups important to them (referents) would want them to vote. Both of these components contributed significantly to voting choice although the attitude was the primary determinant. The attitudes to the act of voting and the subjective norms were, in turn, well predicted from underlying beliefs, thus allowing identification of the specific issues which differentiated between those intending to vote PRO and CON on nuclear energy.

In general both groups of voters agreed on their evaluations of the possible consequences of the ballot. Further, they were both well informed about the basic issues and potential legal consequences of the proposal. What ultimately appears to have influenced the direction of their vote was their disagreement (i.e. their contrary beliefs) about the likely effects of the proposal on three major issues: the economy, the energy crisis and improvements in nuclear safety. The positions taken on these issues clearly differentiated those intending to vote PRO and CON. It should be noted, however, that the other issues about which there was considerable debate, e.g. the question of the constitutional status of the proposal, did not significantly differentiate the two groups of voters.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Research Memorandum)
Research Programs: Energy Program (ENP)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:45
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:09

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