Danielle Joesten Martin, Ph.D.


California State University, Sacramento

Country: United States (California)

Research Interests

Elections, Election Administration, and Voting Behavior

Political Participation

Experimental Research

Gender and Politics

Research Methods & Research Design

Representation and Electoral Systems

Countries of Interest

United States


Journal Articles:

(2019) Playing the Women’s Card: How Women Respond to Female Candidates’ Descriptive Versus Substantive Representation, American Politics Research

When presented the choice between a male and female candidate, it is commonly assumed that women prefer a female candidate. But as more policy and ideologically diverse women run for office, this assumption may not hold true. Using an experimental design embedded in a nationally representative survey, I test how voters respond to female candidates with ideologies and abortion positions similar and contrary to their own preferences. I find that women, generally, prefer a female candidate, but support for a female candidate among women decreases significantly when she has a contrary ideology or policy position. Whether women prefer descriptive or substantive representation also is conditioned on individual-level characteristics. This study advances our understanding of voters’ responses to female candidates’ varying ideological and issue positions, which is increasingly important as more women run for office. Although women are more likely than men to give female candidates the benefit of the doubt, not just any female candidate will do—she needs to appeal to women on issue and ideological grounds too.

(2017) Do Moderate Voters Weight Candidates' Ideologies? Voters' Decision Rules in the 2010 Congressional Elections, Political Behavior

Models of voting behavior typically specify that all voters employ identical criteria to evaluate candidates. We argue that moderate voters weigh candidates’ policy/ideological positions far less than non-moderate voters, and we report analyses of survey data from the 2010 Cooperative Congressional Election Study that substantiate these arguments. Across a wide range of models and measurement strategies, we find consistent evidence that liberal and conservative voters are substantially more responsive to candidate ideology than more centrist voters. Simply put, moderate voters appear qualitatively different from liberals and conservatives, a finding that has important implications for candidate strategies and for political representation.

(2017) Path to Citizenship or Deportation? How Elite Cues Shape Opinion on Immigration in the 2010 U.S. House Elections, Political Behavior

The ascendency of immigration as an issue in elections has been concomitant with massive increases in the Hispanic population in the U.S. We examine how immigration cues prompt greater or lesser levels of restrictionist sentiment among individuals, showing demographic context conditions the effect of candidates cues. Using data from the 2010 U.S. House elections, we illustrate cues presented in new destination states—states with massive increases in the size of theHispanic population from 1990 to 2010—have a larger impact on individuals’ immigration preferences than cues presented in non-new destination contexts. We show candidates with more extreme immigration positions are more likely to prioritize the issue of immigration in their campaigns, suggesting campaign prioritization of immigration has a directional cue. We conclude these directional cues from Republican candidates in new destination contexts move individual attitudes toward restrictionist preferences.

(2014) Reassessing Proximity Voting: Expertise, Party, and Choice in Congressional Elections, Journal of Politics

Spatial theories of voting are appealing because they link voters’ electoral choices to candidates’ policy positions. Yet if voters lack political sophistication and awareness of candidate positions, they may not measure up to the cognitive demands of spatial voting models. Using district experts to ascertain House candidates’ positions on the same liberal-conservative scale as in a survey of constituents, we find that proximity voting is common, even among voters unaware of candidates’ ideological positions. Since voting based on party identification or presidential approval often produces votes consistent with the spatial model, such alternative decision rules explain this result by serving as powerful proxies for proximity voting. In addition, facilitator variables such as involvement in politically expert interpersonal networks, the ideological difference between candidates, and voters’ distance from the district ideological cut point help explain proximity voting.

Media Appearances:

Blog Posts:

(2017) "Distrust of fact-checking is not restricted to the right," Vox, Mischiefs of Faction

Results from a survey experiment in the 2016 presidential primary suggest that encountering surprises on PolitiFact’s Truth-o-Meter might increase supporters’ enthusiasm toward their candidate and encourage undecided voters to re-evaluate candidates' honesty. It does not, however, appear to cause a positive reevaluation of candidates whom voters oppose. We also find that citizens discredit fact-checking organizations when they don’t like what the fact-check shows - a result particularly disconcerting for proponents of fact-checking.

(2016) "The Two Hillary Clintons: How Supporters and Detractors Describe the Democratic Nominee," London School of Economics' American Politics and Policy Blog

If it was not for Donald Trump’s presence in the 2016 race, Hillary Clinton would be the least favored presidential candidate there has ever been. At the same time, however, she is rated by fact checkers as being far more honest than Trump or any other primary candidate. Using a survey of Californians, we explore how voters feel about Clinton. We find that Trump’s framing of Clinton as “crooked” has stuck, with most of his supporters describing her as a “liar” and “untrustworthy”. Clinton’s own supporters on the other hand, were more likely to describe her as “experienced”, “smart” and “strong”. On gender lines, women tend to describe Clinton more positively compared to men, and also note her gender.