EACH OF THE ACTORS discussed to this point—candidates, political parties, interest groups, and the media—are vital to democracy, but there is a widely held assumption that the most essential actors in the electoral process are the voters. The voters, after all, decide who wins and who loses elections. As a result, pundits speculate on their inclinations, pollsters collect their opinions, candidates respond to their demands, and political scientists study their behavior. In fact, voters are the subject of more academic research than any of the other participants in elections.