Social Science Quarterly (University of Texas Press). Dec91, Vol. 72 Issue 4, p834-88393. 6p. 1 Chart.
VOTING, POLITICAL campaigns, ELECTIONS, POLITICAL science, and SOCIAL scientists
This article discusses the misinformation and misperceptions in social research. The author says that the researcher Bernard Grofman has testified on behalf of plaintiffs in dozens of voting rights cases, the author has worked for defendants in similar cases. In his research note, Grofman argues that elections have a single predictor, race, so that multivariate approaches are not simply inappropriate but misleading. Rather than becoming apologists for the courts, social scientists should avoid the temptation to adopt methodologically inadequate approaches. Since the 1982 amendments to the Voting Rights Act, litigation has focused on seven primary and two secondary factors identified by U.S. Congress as relevant when assessing whether an electoral system dilutes minority political influence. While racially polarized voting and the election of minorities are perhaps the two most critical factors, courts have warned that decisions are not to be the product of a tally of the number of factors present but must rest upon an intensely local consideration of the totality of the circumstances surrounding elections.