The movement to restore felon voting rights has heated up, with even some prominent conservatives joining the cause. Yet considerable opposition remains from the Right. One reason is the conventional wisdom that felons are mostly Democrats.

Most of the academic studies on the issue back that notion. However, only a handful of studies have been done on the question and even the authors of those concede that they have very little real-world data to draw on.

"There may be many things that we are not picking up about the felon population," Jeff Manza, a sociology professor at New York University who has co-authored some of the most widely cited studies on the subject, told the Washington Examiner. "It could be we overestimated turnout."

What studies have been done are estimates based on debatable assumptions or involve samples so small they likely aren't representative. Data that would ordinarily be used, such as exit polling, isn't available.

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