A few questions for Charles on voter confidence

I’m glad to see Charles’s posting about voter confidence among by-mail voters. His posting raises a few questions in my mind.

There is a conversation underway among some scholars about the precise meaning of the voter confidence items, which are regularly referred to in public discourse but haven’t really been subjected to much scrutiny. Both Atkeson, Alvarez, and Hall and Gronke and Hicks (both 2009 Midwest Political Science Association papers) found that the voter confidence measure, while it is undeniably a product of a citizen’s generalized orientations toward the political system (e.g. trust in government, approval of the current administration), it also varies in reasonable and expected ways with voting technology, poll worker experiences, and the like.

So for Charles:

1) Why do you focus on the first category (“very confident”) rather than the first two categories (“very confident” and “fairly confident”) in the measure? If you collapse the first two categories, don’t you get confidence well over 90%, regardless of how the Oregon or Washington respondents want the election to be conducted?

2) Can you give us some sense of overall reactions to election reforms? I am wondering specifically whether there is a negative response set bias–respondents rejecting any election reform that deviates from the status quo.