Patch's Poll: Does Placement on Ballots Matter?

The state Republican Party files a lawsuit against Secretary of the State Denise Merrill in an attempt to get the GOP the top line on the November ballot. But does that even make a difference in how you vote?


It's been said that appearance is everything, but is that true when it comes to the order in which political parties are listed on election ballots?

Connecticut Republicans appear to think so. The Connecticut Republican Party filed a lawsuit Thursday against Secretary of the State Denise Merrill pertaining to a ruling denying them top slot on the November ballot, according to The Hartford Courant.

The whole debate goes back a few weeks ago when GOP leaders asked Merrill to reverse a 2011 decision in which the office determined that Democrats would take top billing on the ballot. They argued that decision was made in error, due to the fact that Governor Dannel P. Malloy was listed under two political parties on the 2010 ballot, but .

The order in which party candidates appear on the election ballot is determined by which party candidate gets the most votes in a gubernatorial election. Republicans have historically enjoyed being atop the ballot, but their run came to an end when Malloy was elected in 2010.    

In a letter outlining the reasons for her decision, Merrill writes, "You correctly identify the candidates for Governor; however, you do not differentiate between the appearance of a candidate on the ballot by 'party' nomination and by nominating petition with a 'party designation'. Taking this crucial difference into account results in the conclusion reached by my offìce in 2011; the Democratic Party is listed on the first row on the ballot followed by the Republican Party listed on the second row."

Does it evey make a difference? What are your thoughts on this? Take our poll and share your thoughts in the comments.

Clark van der Lyke August 11, 2012 at 01:11 AM
20 years of election experience tells me it does. As does the wording of questions.
John Sheehan August 11, 2012 at 01:38 AM
Being in the top row mattered more with the voting machines. There was natural tendency to stay in the same row when you were flipping the levers (after the party lever was removed). IT is not as important with the paper ballots since you are filling in bubbles like a multiple choice quiz and it is "easier" to move from one row to another. However, the DEMS have waited over twenty years to get the top line so I doubt they will yield quietly.
LiveForFreedom August 11, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Absolutely. Statistical studies have shown that the top row candidate wins more times than the scond row. Why? They don't know. If it did not matter then the Democrats would take the second line without rsistance. Connecticut has been a blue state for 42 years. We have always had Democratic Senators since most people have been born. The last time a Republican Senator was elected in Connecticut was 1970 when Lowell Weiker won the election. The state has Democratic majorities in most towns and cities, the state Senate, the state House. both U.S. Senators, all five U.S. Congressmen and of course, the Governor is a Democrat. Why would anyone think anything is ever going to change in Connecticut?
Lisa Beth August 11, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I agree that the wording of questions matters greatly. Sometimes it seems they come up with the most convoluted way possible to pose a question. As for ballot placement, it doesn't matter to me. I'm one of those people who knows who they're going to vote for before they get to the polls. The fact that I can read is also helpful. :)
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