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The Effects of Judicial Campaign Activity on the Legitimacy of Courts: A Survey-Based Experiment



The purpose of this article is to investigate the consequences of judicial campaign activity for the perceived legitimacy of the Pennsylvania judiciary. The authors find that politicized campaign ads do detract from court support, although they find practically no difference between traditional campaign ads (e.g., presenting endorsements from groups) and strong attack ads. But this finding must be understood within the context of the 2007 Pennsylvania election increasing court support for all respondents, even those exposed to the most politicized ad content. Being exposed to politicized ads seems to retard the benefits of elections but does not eliminate them.