American Political Science Review

Research Notes

The Carryover Effect in Presidential Elections

Walter J. Stone

University of Colorado, Boulder


The carryover hypothesis asserts that participants' candidate support behavior in the general election is affected by their preferences for their party's nomination. This paper examines data from activist and national sample surveys for evidence of a carryover effect in the 1980 election. There is a detectable carryover effect on voting behavior both for activists and for citizens generally. Among activists, where evidence about candidate support behaviors beyond voting is available, the effect on such activity is substantial, and increases with the effort associated with the general election activity in question.

Walter J. Stone is Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Colorado-Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309.