Voting and Participation –

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					    Chapter 7- Voting and Participation –
    Learning Objectives
• (1). Examine who votes and the effect of individual voting characteristics.
• (2). Describe socioeconomic, demographic and psychological effects on voter
•   (3). Discuss the effects of registration laws and campaign contacts.
•   (4). Outline key historical efforts of Americans to secure the right to vote,
    including: the 15th, 19th, & 26th Amendments, and the 1965 Voting Rights Act.
•   (5). Define political efficacy, analyze the decline in voter turnout, and assess its
•   (6). Examine who becomes a political activists, and describe the various types.
•   (7). Examine how voters make choices, the influence of party identification and
    candidate characteristics, and how voters choose based on the issues.
•   (8). Contrast retrospective and prospective issue voting, and the role of economics.
•   (9). Discuss how the relative influences and importance of party identification,
    candidate characteristics, and issues change over time.
•   (10). Analyze the influence of social groups on voting behavior; examine the
    gender gap.
   Who Votes:
   The central activity of Democracy
• The Effect of Individual Voter Characteristics:
  – Determining voter turnout – who actually votes
     • Socioeconomic characteristics
        – Education
        – Income
        – Occupation
     • Demographic characteristics
        – Race, ethnicity, age, & gender
     • Psychological characteristics
        –   Strength of Party Identification
        –   Political efficacy
        –   Group consciousness
        –   Interest & trust in Government & Political awareness
                                         So who’s more likely to vote?
Citizens Most likely to Vote: Same People with what?
How US Voters Compare
What Determines Voter Turnout

          Actual voter turnout
             depends on:

 Voter         Registration   Campaign
 Traits           Laws        Contacts

• Socioeconomic Status
• Demographic Characteristics:
  • Race, Ethnicity, Age, Gender
• Psychological Characteristics
Key Term Review

Family Income &        Education
     Wealth       +
       Occupational Status = ?

        Socioeconomic Status
Education and Voting

  Education is the most
    important variable
 in whether people vote
        or Not.

• Registration and voting laws also
  affect turnout by changing the costs
  of voting from state to state.
• The more difficult and time
  consuming it is to vote, the less likely
  people are to do so.
  The Effect of Registration Laws
• Impact on voter turnout => (compared in Fig. 7-1)
  – 2 Rules affecting other industrial democracies:
     • Automatic voter registration
     • Compulsory voting
• Rules inhibiting voter turnout in US
  – Closing date (30 day deadline to register)
  – Region with most stringent registration laws?
     • Post-Civil War legacy: poll taxes & literacy test
     • 24th Amendment affect on above?
  – But old habits change slowly=>
     • Stricter registration rules evident in the South
 Registration and Congressional Action
• Congress eases rules nationally:
  – National Voter Registration Act of 1993
     • Also called?
     • “Motor Voter Law”
  – Impact? (+ 9%)
     • But … marginal effects do count => 2000
Voting Act of 1965 (whites)

             Percentage of Southern
               Whites registered
                 to vote in 1960.

      29.9                       Registered

Voting Act of 1965 (African-American)

                 Percentage of Southern
              African-Americans registered
                     to vote in 1960.

                           29.1       Registered

    Voting Act of 1965 (Impact)

Voting Rights Act of 1965 eliminated what
kind of ―requirements‖ for voter eligibility?

         • Tests of literacy
         • Educational Attainment
         • Political Knowledge
         • Good moral character

    The Effect of Campaign Contacts on Voter Turnout:
              Who is normally contacted & why?
                 Who does the contacting?
  Registered Supporters by Party Activists (Figure 7-2)
  Personal contact (“Do you need a ride to the polls?”)

Other Methods used to contact => mobilize supporters to vote:
                    Mass mail campaigns
       Telephone banks (“Hello, this is Barbara Bush…”)

New voting trend in Northwest? => any potential effect?
Decline of Voter Turnout
1888-2000 (Figure 7-3):
Two competing explanations for Voter
 • 1. Democratic Party shift to favor $$$
  interest & its impact
   – Result: loss of labor voter support
 • 2. Changes in Voting laws:
   – Australian Ballot
   – Requirements to register in order to vote
   – 19th Amendment
   – Impact of above?
  Contemporary Reasons for Decline
• Post-1960s analysis & debate:
  – Survey data indicated => measurable decline in:
     • Party ID, political efficacy, & newspaper readers
  – Decline in average age of eligible voters
     • (26th Amendment) => impact? (population pool?)
• Also: decline in efforts to recruit campaign
  – Increased reliance on TV ads & direct mail campaigns
  – Door to door campaigning considered too old fashion?
     • Impact at the polls? (Recent election results?)
Does Weak Voter Turnout Really Matter?
(Impact of the rules?)
  • Which Party benefits or losses?
  • Conventional wisdom?
   – High socioeconomic voters’ turnout &
     preferences? vs.
      • Historical turnout & preferences of the poor?
   – Which party would benefit from which group?
      • Any exceptions to rule?
      • Role of cross cutting cleavages?
 • Impact of hypothetical turnout increase:
   – From 50-55% => 80-90%? (TBD)
Political Participation –
The Activists

   What is a Political Activists?

      An individual who engages in
      political activities that go beyond
      voting, such as attempting to
      persuade others, attending
      rallies, donating money, or
      working for a candidate or cause.
Various ways to participate in politics?
     Participation in Politics:

                    •Most likely way? Least?
Becoming an Activists
• Who Becomes an Activist – 3 major factors?
  – 1. Resources: time, $$$, & civic skills
  – 2. Psychological engagement:
     • Commitment to issue or group & sense of political efficacy
  – 3. Participating member of organization
     • (Opportunity to interact and hone debate skills)
• Activist influence on political agenda? Why?
  – Activities: staff campaign, register voters, support
  – Any correlations evident? Any exceptions?
     • Wealthy, older, educated, & involved w/political knowage
     • Exception: Poor students with strong sense of what?
How Voters Make Choices
          Three Major Factors
            Voting Behavior?

 Identification   Candidate
                    istics      Issues

The psychological feeling of
belonging to a particular
political party, which
influences voting behavior
 Party Identification
• Psychological attachment to party =>
  – Influences political behavior of member- how to vote
• Influence of Party ID on voting behavior?
  – See Text- Table 7-3: likely to vote for party candidate
• Another key Role played by Party ID:
  – Perceptual screen? (Figure 7-5)
  – Influences voter’s positions on complex issues
  – Aid for deciding how to vote (how so?)
     • Guides voters with regard to which issue or
      candidate to support

      The candidate's character, personality,
experiences, past record, and physical appearance.

   How does candidate’s characteristics influence voters?
    Both obvious & subtle prejudices & preferences
Issues: Factors Affecting How People Vote

            Hard       Easy
           Issues     Issues
                Issue Voting
      What is Retrospective Issue Voting?

                       Deciding how to
Retrospective          vote on the basis of
    Issue              past policy
   Voting              outcomes.

Prospective             Deciding how to vote
   Issue                on the basis of a
  Voting                candidate's likely
                        future policies.
The Issues
• Issues – most important but least influential?
• Retrospective issue voting?
   – Voting based on past record (“pocket book issues”)
   – Impact of sociotropic voters? (community vs. self)
• Prospective issue voting?
   – 3 conditions required (1950’s study):
      • 1. issue awareness & an opinion on it
      • 2. knowledge of government’s actions
      • 3. see the different positions of the candidates
   – Recent Criteria (Seven-point scale – Figure 7-6)
      • Voter can place him/herself on the scale with regard to the issue
      • Voter can place both candidates on scale
      • Voter sees difference between candidates
      • Places Democratic party to left of GOP candidate
   – Results? Voter’s knowledge (51% or less- see Table 7-4))
         Easy vs. Hard Issues

         What’s the difference?

                    Issues that allow
                    voters to make quick,
Easy Issues         emotional decisions
                    without much

                    Complex issues that
                    require knowledge
Hard Issues         and understanding
                    invested by the voter.
  Easy issues vs. hard issues
  Criteria for selecting an issue:

• Candidate & Party/Interest Group’s conclusion
 when selecting a particular issue to support?
  – Complex issues are too hard for voters to
  – Therefore waste of campaign’s time and money
  – Result?
 Easy issues vs. hard issues- Impact
• Impact on how candidate should choose
 issues during campaign?
  – Go easy w/bumper sticker for emotional appeal
• Result: Easier to explain Candidate’s
 position- but…
  – Less solid info for voters to make their choice
     • And a less informed electorate
  – Heavy reliance on Party Identification for
  Changes Over Time
• Factors affecting voter decisions change with
 the times:
  – Dramatic events:
     • War, recessions, or natural or manmade disasters
     • Results in more focus on the issues
• Influence of candidates & news media issue
 priorities (what is debated):
  – In most cases set the political campaign agenda
  – Determine what issues are debated before voters
 Influences of Social Groups on Voting
• Social Group influence on voters’ choices in
 2000 election:
  – See Text Table 7-5 for specific breakdown:
     • Family income & Education
     • Race/Ethnicity & Religion
     • Gender
       – Note growing gender gap
    • Married couples
    • Ideology
• Group correlations & general conclusions?
  – Consistency with Political Knowledge profiles?
Table 7-5: Social Group Voting- 2000
Table 7-5: Social Group Voting- 2004
Wednesday’s Assignment

• Chapter 8: The News Media
  – Syllabus Learning Objectives #1-11
• Luncheon Learn (Supreme Court)- 1240
• Reminder: Research Paper topic
  – Preparation for Thesis formulation due by
Chapter 7 KEY TERMS
• Australian ballot: A government-printed ballot (as opposed to
    one distributed by political parties) that allows people to vote in
•   Candidate characteristics: The candidate’s character,
    personality, experiences, past record, and physical appearance.
•   Closing date: The last day before the election when one can
    register in order to vote—usually described in number of days
    before Election Day.
•   Easy issues: Simple issues that allow voters to make quick,
    emotional decisions without much information.
•   Franchise: The right to vote.
•   Gender gap: The difference between men’s and women’s
    voting rates for either a Democratic or Republican candidate.
•   Group consciousness: Identification with one’s social group
    (for instance, black consciousness).
    Chapter 7 KEY TERMS (2)
• Hard issues: Complicated issues that require voters to have
    information about the policy and to spend time considering their
•   Literacy test: A test of ability to read and write, used in the
    South to prevent people from voting.
•   Party identification: The psychological feeling of belonging to
    a particular political party, which influences voting behavior.
•   Poll tax: Before 1964, the tax that people paid in some states if
    they chose to vote.
•   Prospective issue voting: Deciding how to vote on the basis of a
    candidate’s likely policies.
•   Retrospective issue voting: Deciding how to vote on the basis
    of past policy outcomes.
•   Sociotropic voters: People who vote on the basis of their
    community’s economic interests, rather than their personal
    economic interests.
•   Voter turnout: The percentage of people who actually vote.