Can we learn from 2012? Priming and abortion's influence on voting decisions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


With abortion regaining attention in national media due to recent court cases and legislation, this study assesses evidence of the potential impact of abortion on voting behavior when the issue becomes especially salient in the campaign information environment. The study utilizes two-wave panel data from the 2010–2012 Cooperative Congressional Study and compares the effect of lagged abortion attitudes on vote choice in the Missouri and Indiana U.S. Senate elections in 2012 to other electoral contests where abortion was less salient. The findings suggest abortion influenced vote choice through the process of learning and priming after abortion unexpectedly became salient due to comments from Republican candidates that revealed extreme conservative positions on the issue. While substantial research suggests that voters often learn and then follow the issue preferences of their preferred party's candidates, these results point to conditions where the information environment can serve a potentially more normatively desirable role of informing and activating the electorate's pre-existing preferences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102518
JournalElectoral Studies
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations


  • Abortion
  • Issue attitudes
  • Learning
  • Priming
  • Survey
  • Voting


Dive into the research topics of 'Can we learn from 2012? Priming and abortion's influence on voting decisions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this