The above figure is from a recently published paper by Melinda Gann Hall and Chris Bonneau, “Attack Advertising, the White Decision, and Voter Participation in State Supreme Court Elections.” The abstract is available below the fold.
ABSTRACT: This project evaluates whether televised attack advertising and less restrictive campaign speech codes brought about by Republican Party of Minnesota v. White (2002) have had adverse effects on citizen participation in state supreme court elections. The authors’ specific focus is on partisan and nonpartisan races from 2002 through 2006. Overall, they find that attack ads and liberalized speech codes actually mobilize rather than demobilize the electorate. These findings highlight the striking similarities between state supreme court elections and elections to other important offices. These results also raise questions about the validity of normative accounts about the relationship between citizens and the bench.