Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Using Campaign Communications to Analyze Civility in Ranked Choice Voting Elections

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Abstract:  Theory suggests that ranked choice voting (RCV) may create a more civil campaign environment. As voters must rank candidates, the candidates have an incentive to work with each other more collaboratively. This study uses text analysis software (LIWC) to examine candidate tweets and newspaper articles in RCV versus specifically-chosen plurality cities for evidence of positivity or negativity. In quantitatively comparing the tweets, the results are mixed among the cities. Qualitatively, candidates seem to be more likely to engage each other in RCV cities than in plurality cities. Using LIWC to analyze newspaper articles for campaign tone, one can see that RCV city articles have significantly more positive than negative words. This is the first published study to use direct campaign communication data to study RCV elections and campaign civility. This research validates survey research indicating that citizens perceive RCV campaigns are more civil.

Keywords:  civility; content analysis; Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count; ranked choice voting; sentiment analysis; text analysis; Twitter


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© Martha Kropf. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.