Voter Behavior

Document Sample
Voter Behavior Powered By Docstoc
					Voter Behavior
What constitutes the many
  “idiots” in our midst?
        Size of the Problem
 2000 Election-205.8 million citizens of
  voting age. Only 105.4 actually voted.
 Also, 99 million votes were cast for 435
  seats in the House of Representatives.
 There are even lower rates of turnout in
  “off-year elections” or the congressional
  elections held in the even-numbered years
  in between presidential elections.
 “Nonvoting Voters” – millions who vote during
  presidential elections, but not for congressional
  candidates in off-year elections.
 Very common in state and local elections.
 The farther down the ballot an office is, the
  fewer the number of votes will be cast.
 “Ballot fatigue”-voters exhaust their patience or
  knowledge as they work their way down the
 -More people vote during general elections than
  primary or special elections.
      Why don’t people vote?
 “Cannot-Voters”
    - 10 million resident aliens
    - 5-6 million ill or physically disabled
    - 2-3 million traveling unexpectedly
    - 500,000 in mental institutions
    - 2 million in jail
    -100,000 do not vote for religious reasons
      (Voting amounts to idolatry)
 “Actual Nonvoters”
   -80 million who could vote, did not
   -Deliberately choose not to go
   -Voter efficacy: convinced that their vote will
      not make a difference
   -”Whoever wins will be fine with me” mentality
   -Distrust politics/politicians/special interest
      Factors Affecting Turn-out
   Cumbersome election procedures: Inconvenient
    registration requirements, long ballots and lines.
   Weather
   “Time zone fallout”: Eastern and Central polls
    close in the Mountain and Pacific time zones and
    early returns in the media attempt to project a
    winner, thus discouraging Western voters from
    casting their ballots.
   Lack of interest/apathy
   Woefully uninformed
   Jury Duty Affect
   Nonvoter characteristics:
- Younger than age 35
- unmarried
- unskilled
- Southern/rural areas
- male
- low sense of voter efficacy (Regardless of
  class, race and education).
    Comparing Voters and Nonvoters
   Voter characteristics:
 -high levels of income
-occupational status
-well integrated in the community
-long-time residents
-strong sense of party identification
-believe voting is an important act-voter efficacy
 (This transcends all other factors)
-AARP crowd and women
-in areas where laws, customs and competition
 between the parties promote turnout
  Factors that influence voters
Sociological Factors
 Income/Occupation
  -Democrats (Lower income brackets,
   manual labor)
  -Republicans (Higher income brackets,
   professional and business people)
 -Republicans- more college graduates
 -Democrats- more high school graduates

 Yet more high school graduates vote
 Republican than those who have only
 gone through grade school
Gender Gap (Partisan choices)
-Women tend to favor Democrats
-men favor Republicans

Men and women vote differently on issues
  such as: abortion, health care, social
  welfare matters, and military involvement.
    Younger voters tend to be Democrats
    or gravitate towards third parties.

Religion, Ethnic Background
 -North: Protestants GOP
          Jews/Catholics Democrats
          (Historical precedent-immigration patterns)
 -Nonwhites support Democratic party:
  African Americans are the second most important racial minority
   in the country (New Deal)
  Latinos: Cuban Americans GOP
            Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans Democratic
           Psychological Factors
   Party Identification: Loyalty is the single most
    significant predictor of voter turn-out.
      - Straight-ticket voting
      - Split-ticket voting (Waning influence of
        of party loyalty)
      - Independents-used to be less well-
        informed. “New” independents now
        prefer not to join either major party. They
        are often young, above average education,
        income and job status
   Short Term affect of Candidates/Issues
    - Cause them to switch sides or a split
      ticket.
    -Impression a candidate makes (Personality,
    character, style, appearance, past record,
    abilities, etc)
    -Issues have become increasingly important
    over the last 40 years (Watergate, Vietnam War,
    economic problems)

Shared By: