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Voting Behavior

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Title: Voting Behavior


1
Voting Behavior
  • POLS 125 Political Parties Elections

I never vote for anyone. I always vote
against. W.C. Fields (1879-1946)
2
Models of Voting Behavior
  • Sociological Vote choice is a function of group
    membership.
  • Socio-Psychological Vote choice is the product
    of long-standing identifications.
  • Strategic Vote choice is a function of the
    spatial distance between a voters policy
    preferences and the candidates issue position.

3
What is Group Identification?
  • SELF-CATEGORIZATION Self-awareness of ones
    objective membership in a group
  • AFFINITY Psychological sense of attachment to
    the group

4
Examples
  • African-American
  • Working class
  • Single Mom
  • College student
  • Republican
  • Environmentalist
  • Catholic
  • Senior Citizen

These identities are often ACTIVATED by political
parties and their candidates.
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6
Key Influences on Voting Behavior
  • Social/demographic traits (e.g., race, gender,
    religion)
  • Partisan identification
  • Issue positions
  • Candidate evaluations

7
Gender Politics
  • Soccer Moms
  • Security Moms
  • Waitress Moms
  • Sex and the City singles
  • The angry white male
  • Office park Dads
  • NASCAR Dads

8
Dem takes heat over NASCAR immunization
WASHINGTON (CNN) Congressional Republicans
Thursday seized on a Democrat's recent suggestion
that his aides get immunized before attending
NASCAR events, claiming such a recommendation
shows a "disconnect" with America. Asking in a
press release whether Democrats are "allergic to
NASCAR nation," the National Republican
Congressional Committee wrote, "While
red-blooded, patriotic Americans were packing
their coolers and gathering their families in
preparation of attending last weeks race at
Talladega, a leading Democrat was advising staff
to get immunized."
"Democrats should know that there is no
preventive measure yet designed to ward off the
blue-collar values and patriotism that NASCAR
fans represent," said Linda Daves, the chairwoman
of the North Carolina Republican Party. "If they
aren't careful, they just might catch some of it."
9
Vote Choice for President by Gender

10
Why should there be a gender gap?
  • Physical and sociological differences?
  • Different political priorities?
  • Different policy preferences?

11
Trends in Partisan Identification Among Women,
1952-2004
12
Trends in Partisan Identification Among Men,
1952-2004
13
Party Strengths Among Male and Female Voters
14
Top 10 Signs Youre a Security Mom
  • Your attack dog has a bin Laden chew toy.
  • You base your SUV purchase on how many places
    there are to conceal a weapon.
  • Your neighborhood watch complains you dont leave
    any perps for them.
  • Youll vote for Bush because the other guy is a
    wussy.
  • You traded in your Gucci for the M-30 Leather Gun
    Purse.
  • The guys at the range call you Sarge.
  • You send your kids to Judo Camp.
  • Your son quits the Boy Scouts because they were
    amateurs. (MP personal favorite)
  • Monday is MRE Night.
  • You DO wear combat boots.

15
Identity Politics, 2008
Identity Politics, 2008
Did blacks support Barack Obama?
Did women support Sarah Palin?
16
2008 Exit Polls
17
2004
2006
18
"Next, we'd like to get your overall opinion of
some people in the news. As I read each name,
please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable
opinion of these people or if you have never
heard of them Sarah Palin."
19
It turns out that the biggest deal about racial
and gender identity in the campaign is that,
especially to younger Americans who live and work
in a vastly changed country, it isnt such a very
big deal after all. Matt Bai, Retro Identity
Politics
vs.
What are we left with, then, as the
identity-politics election of 2008 comes to a
close? We have a Republican Party more committed
than ever to a fetishized picture of
working-class white maleness and unthreatening
womanhood. We have a Democratic Party freshly
aware of how difficult it is to look honestly at
the history and reality of race and gender -- but
also aware of how powerful those forces are.
We've elected our first African American
president, but we've done more than that. We've
opened up a rawer, more meaningful national
conversation about identity than we've had since
the heyday of the civil-rights and women's lib
movements. Race, gender, and their discontents
haven't gone away. The fact that we're talking
about them again? That's progress. Dana
Goldstein, The Identity Politics Election
20
Identity Politics, 2008
"Oprah is a Traitor!!!"
"For the first time in history we actually have a
chance at putting a woman in the white house and
Oprah backs the black MAN. She's choosing her
race over her gender hypocrisy at its finest!!
What happens when social identities collide?
21
Vote for President by Race, 1952-2004
22
Racial Resentment?
There is an inherent feeling among many in this
country that an African-American should not be
president. Jimmy Carter
23
The Latin Swing
Political consultants use the term Latin Swing to
refer to middle class Latino voters who are not
the loyal Democrats many people assume they are.
This is an important trend. Why? Because the
Latino population is growing, especially in
states with large electoral college votes, such
as California and Texas. In 2000,
  • 31 of Latino voters with incomes under 30,000
    voted for Bush.
  • 37 of Latino voters with incomes between 30,000
    and 75,000 voted for Bush.
  • 46 of Latino voters with incomes above 75,000
    voted for Bush.

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26
The Youth Vote
  • There are 43 million U.S. citizens between the
    ages 18-30.
  • 64 of 18-30 year old citizens are registered to
    vote.
  • 18-30 year olds make up 24 of total pool of
    eligible voters.
  • The youth vote increased by 4.6 million in 2004.
    Voters under the age of 30 made up 17 of the
    electorate in 2004roughly the same proportion as
    in 2000.
  • In 2004, young voters preferred Kerry to Bush by
    a margin of 54-45.

27
Generational Politics
"A man who is not a socialist at 20 has no heart
a man who is still a socialist at 40 has no
head." Winston Churchill
  • Life-cycle effects
  • Maturation
  • Role transition
  • Period effects
  • Great Depression
  • Vietnam War
  • 9/11
  • Cohort effects
  • Greatest Generation, 1901-1924
  • Silent Generation, 1925-1945
  • Baby Boomers, 1946-1964
  • Generation X, 1965-1980
  • Reagan Babies, 1980-1988

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29
Voter Turnout by Age, 2004
30
Voter Turnout by Age
Voter turnout
Chronological age
31
How Apathetic?
  • In 2000, an annual survey of freshmen in the
    colleges and universities across the country
    found that
  • 17 of students were interested in influencing
    the political structure (58 of Baby Boomers
    said the same in 1966).
  • 26 were interested in keeping up with political
    affairs.
  • 28 wanted to be a community leader.
  • In contrast, 73 of college freshmen said they
    wanted to be well-off financially.

32
Generations X Y
Todays younger people have been called slackers,
whiners, and twenty-nothings. Theyve been said
to loaf in grunge clothes and complain of having
to take jobs. Their aesthetic sensibility was
molded by The Simpsons. Theyre too busy
watching MTV and playing video games to care
about politics.
  • Is this a fair description?
  • If it is accurate to call Reagan Babies
    apathetic, is what we see a life-cycle or a
    cohort effect? Are todays young people likely
    to become more political active as they age, or
    is this generation less committed to politics
    because of events they have experienced?
  • As children of normal politics, are young people
    ripe for realignment?

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36
I Cannot Be Charted
I am the youth vote. And I'm tired of being
preached at, studied and wooed. I want to be
educated, listened to and, most of all,
respected. Everyone has a theory as to why I
don't vote, but no one really asks me. So I'll
explain. I am neither lazy nor apathetic. I'm
confused and frustrated. I am told to care about
issues like Social Security and health care, when
chances are high that I won't even find a job
after I graduate from college. I juggle low-wage,
part-time jobs or a full-time class schedule, and
I'm not necessarily available on Nov. 2. I
cannot be accurately represented by percentages
and statistics. I cannot be graphed and charted.
I am not a Democrat, Republican or other. I'm a
mixed bag of experiences and influences, and no
one can predict how I will vote when I do
vote. I am not ignorant. I know what's going in
the worldeven if I hear it mostly from "The
Daily Show with Jon Stewart." And yes, at times I
do care more about the latest episode of "The
Sopranos" than the headline news. That's because
I live the headline news. I know about poverty
and crime. I live it every day. I am not
disengaged, I'm worn out. Sometimes I feel that
no matter how I vote, there will still be war,
crime and poverty. And I have other things on my
mind. I am worried about skin cancer, drunken
drivers, eating disorders, what I'm going to be
when I grow up, how I'm going to get there and
what I'm going to do Friday night.
37
I Cannot Be Charted
I don't know the difference between President
George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry because they
don't take time out from kissing babies and the
behinds of corporate executives to tell me.
Anyway, sex scandals, wars based on false
pretenses and broken promises have left me
cynical about all politicians. Howard Dean tried
to change my mind about the political process. He
made me a part of his campaign, rather than a
target. He recognized the power I hold, rather
than ignoring my potential. I am active on
campuses across the country, but this part of me
is recognized only as a minority--a few bright
stars in an otherwise dark night. I am not a
dark knight. I will not ride in on my horse come
November and steal the election for one candidate
or another. I don't know if I will even really
vote at all. But I do know that I am 48 million
strong. And if someone would just reach out to
me--not just during election years, but every
day--I would show them overwhelming support at
the polls. I am the youth vote. by TRACI E.
CARPENTER Newsweek, July 12, 2004
38
Voter Turnout by Age
Voter turnout
Delayed maturation? Today, the average age of
first-time brides is 25, compared with an average
age of 21 in 1964. For first-time grooms, the
average age is 27.5, compared with an average age
of 24 in 1964.
Chronological age
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40
The American Voter (1960)
  • Partisan identification is learned through
    pre-adult socialization
  • It is an enduring psychological attachment, a
    point of self-reference

This view has been under attack ever since
41
Key Questions
  • How changeable is a voters partisan
    identification?
  • Do feelings of partisanship respond to current
    political events (e.g., a running tally)?
  • How loyal are self-described partisans?
  • Has there been a rise in the number of
    Independents?

42
Partisan Identification
Generally speaking, do you usually think of
yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, an
Independent, or what? Would you call yourself a
strong DEMOCRAT/REPUBLICAN or a not very strong
DEMOCRAT/REPUBLICAN? IF INDEPENDENT, NO
PREFERENCE, or OTHER Do you think of yourself
as closer to the Republican Party or to the
Democratic Party?
Do all Independents belong in the middle of the
political spectrum?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Strong Democrat
Weak Democrat
Lean Democrat
Lean Republican
Weak Republican
Strong Republican
Independent
43
Trends in Partisan Identification,
1952-2004Including Leaners
Source National Election Studies, various years.
44
Trends in Partisan Identification,
1952-2004Excluding Leaners
Source National Election Studies, various years.
45
Democratic Expected Vote in Presidential
Elections, 1952-2004
Source National Election Studies, various years.
46
Trends in Party Affiliation, 2000-2007
47
Consequences
  • Party identification encourages an active
    interest in politics.
  • Once formed, party identification acts as a
    short-cut or cue.
  • It also serves as a filter or perceptual screen,
    shaping other more specific attitudes, including
    evaluations of office holders.

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Reagan Democrats
The term Reagan Democrats refers to a group of
voters (composed largely of white, ethnic, blue
collar, Northerners) who continued to identify
with the Democratic Party while voting for Ronald
Reagan in 1980 and 1984.
50
Key Questions
  • How changeable is a voters partisan
    identification?
  • Do feelings of partisanship respond to current
    political events (e.g., a running tally)?
  • How loyal are self-described partisans?
  • Has there been a rise in the number of
    Independents?

51
Trends in Partisan Identification,
1952-2004Excluding Leaners
Source National Election Studies, various years.
52
A Rise in Independents?
  • Not all respondents classified as Independents
    label themselves that way.
  • Most independents are, in fact, hidden
    partisans.

53
  • Nothing in that respect. I dont consider
    myself anything politically.
  • I aint none of them.
  • None.
  • Not anything.
  • Laughs You should call me nothing.
  • No preference.
  • I dont think of myself as anything.
  • It depends.
  • Im an American.
  • May the best man win. Its the best
    candidate.
  • Im someone who believes in what I believe is a
    good man who will do the most for the country.
  • Im not a Republican, not a Democrat, not an
    Independent, and not a Communist.
  • Im nothing. I dont holler about it.
  • Interviewer asks if the respondent would call
    himself an Independent. You dont mean one of
    those minority groups?
  • Oh hell, I dont know.

Each of these respondents was ultimately
classified as an Independent.
54
Party Identifiers Voting for Their Partys
Presidential Candidate
55
Trends in Partisan Identification,
1952-2004Including Leaners
Source National Election Studies, various years.
56
Trends in Partisan Identification, 1952-2004
57
Partisan Loyalty
58
Partisan Identification
Partisan identification has been called the most
important single influence on political opinions
and voting behavior. It is defined by these
characteristics
  • Partisanship is often learned early in life from
    our parents through a process of socialization,
    and (at least theoretically) it grows stronger
    with age
  • It is a psychological attachment that is both
    affective and cognitive in nature. As such it is
    a point of self-reference, largely independent of
    formal membership, that is surprising stable over
    the course of our lives
  • It acts as a filter, or perceptual screena
    framework through which we experience and
    understand politics. It simplifies our voting
    behavior by providing a necessary short cut,
    and conditions our political interest and our
    willingness to participate actively in politics

59
Partisan Identification
Generally speaking, do you usually think of
yourself as a Republican, a Democrat, an
Independent, or what? Would you call yourself a
strong DEMOCRAT/REPUBLICAN or a not very strong
DEMOCRAT/REPUBLICAN? IF INDEPENDENT, NO
PREFERENCE, or OTHER Do you think of yourself
as closer to the Republican Party or to the
Democratic Party?
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Strong Democrat
Weak Democrat
Lean Democrat
Lean Republican
Weak Republican
Strong Republican
Independent
60
A Rise in Independents?
  • Not all respondents classified as Independents
    label themselves that way.
  • Most independents are, in fact, hidden
    partisans.

61
Scholars typically measure partisan
identification using a series of questions, the
first being Generally speaking, do you usually
think of yourself as a Democrat, a Republican, an
Independent, or what? Its a close ended
question. But despite that structure,
respondents still give answers that are all over
the placeanswers that are difficult to code.
Here are some examples from the interview
protocols Generally speaking, do you usually
think of yourself as a Democrat, a Republican, an
Independent, or what?
  • Nothing in that respect. I dont consider
    myself anything politically.
  • I aint none of them.
  • None.
  • Not anything.
  • Laughs You should call me nothing.
  • No preference.
  • I dont think of myself as anything.
  • It depends.
  • Im an American.
  • May the best man win. Its the best
    candidate.
  • Im someone who believes in what I believe is a
    good man who will do the most for the country.
  • Im not a Republican, not a Democrat, not an
    Independent, and not a Communist.
  • Im nothing. I dont holler about it.
  • Interviewer asks if the respondent would call
    himself an Independent. You dont mean one of
    those minority groups?
  • Oh hell, I dont know.

Each of these respondents was ultimately
classified as an Independent.
62
Who likes Hillary Clinton?
  • Overall, the public is split precisely down the
    middle when asked whether its opinions of Clinton
    are favorable or unfavorable.
  • There are four major variables highly related to
    opinions of Clinton race, the respondent's party
    identification, the respondent's self-reported
    ideology, and gender (in that order).

63
Consequences
  • Party identification colors our perception of
    individuals and events.
  • Research suggests that party identifiers adjust,
    or project, their perceptions of where the
    parties stand to suit their own preferences.
  • Party identification is more rationalizing than
    rational.

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65
The Two Americas
What divides Americans is authenticity, not
something hard and ugly like economics. While
liberals commit endless acts of hubris, sucking
down lattes, driving ostentatious European cars,
and trying to reform the world, the humble people
of the red states go about their unpretentious
business, eating down-home foods, vacationing in
the Ozarks, whistling while they work, feeling
comfortable about who they are, and knowing they
are secure under the watch of George W. Bush, a
man they love as one of their own. Thomas Frank
66
A Victory for People Like Us
67
A Victory for People Like Us
In the aftermath of the U.S. presidential
election, the Washington Post reporter David
Finkel interviewed white evangelical voters in
the small town of Sheffield, Ohio. The Leslie
family had seen its annual income drop from
55,000 in 2001 to 35,000 in 2004. It did not
affect their vote "Jobs will come and go," said
Cary Leslie, "but your character you have to
hang on to that. It's what you're defined by." As
far as they were concerned, that's what defined
the president. "To know that he prays," Cary's
wife, Tara Leslie, "and I really believe he does
that's a huge thing." Cary summed up his
interpretation of the election in a simple
sentence "It's a victory for people like us."
68
The Two Americas
Why is it so puzzling that people vote their
convictions rather than their pocketbooks? Jon
A. Shields
69
Presidential Voting and Economic Growth
Retrospective voting on the economy provides an
information short-cut.
70
Perceived Economic Conditions, 1980-2004
Perceptions of the economy mattered in 1992, more
than reality.
Source National Election Study, various years.
71
Newspaper Headlines following the 2004
Presidential Election
  • FAITH, VALUES FUELED WIN (The Chicago Tribune)
  • VALUES VOTERS KEY TO BUSH RE-ELECTION (Fort
    Worth Star Telegram)
  • MORAL VALUES CITED AS A DEFINING ISSUE OF THE
    ELECTION (The New York Times)
  • MORAL VALUES WERE A PRIORITY FOR VOTERS
    (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
  • MORAL VALUES DREW VOTERS TO BUSH (Buffalo News)

All of these analyses were based on the same
question from the same exit poll
72
2004 Exit Poll Results
Since moral values outranked all other issues
in the 2004 exit poll, some argue that Bush won
re-election because of a legion of religious
voters. Others call it a myth.
73
Religion and Voting Behavior, 2004
74
What are Moral Values?
  • Being against gay marriage?
  • Opposing stem cell research?
  • Opposing abortion?
  • Helping the poor?
  • Withdrawing troops from Iraq?
  • Character attributes of the candidates?

Some argue that the moral values controversy
rests on a single dodgy exit poll question
75
Kerrys God Problem
According to columnist Amy Sullivan, the
Democrats have a religion problem. According to a
recent Time magazine poll, only 7 of Americans
think that John Kerry is a man of strong
religious faith this, in a country in which 70
of voters say that they want their president to
be a man of faith.
76
The Fault Lines of Religious Belief
The lines connecting religious belief and
political affiliation have undergone a major
shift since the late 1940s and early 1950s, when
the Republican party was dominated by mainline
Protestants and the Democratic Party was
essentially a coalition of Catholics, Jews, and
white evangelicals. Since then, notes John
Green, a University of Akron political scientist
and expert in religious voting behavior, there
has been a mass exodus of evangelicals to the
Republican Party. In 2000, for example, Bush
garnered a whopping 85 of the votes cast by
conservative evangelicals, a/k/a the Religious
Right. A large number of Catholicsparticularly
white non-Hispanic Catholicshave shifted
Republican as well.
77
The Fault Lines of Religious Belief
Evangelicals may be theologically conservative,
but they have not always been politically
conservative.
78
Evangelical voters are becoming increasingly
concerned with a variety of issues the Iraq
War, the environment, torture, poverty,
etc.things that put them at odds with the
presidents agenda. Indeed, some argue that it is
no longer accurate to identify evangelical with
religious right.
79
But will Christian evangelicals defect from the
Republican Party?
According to a leaked e-mail, Fred Thompson has
"no passion, no zeal."
Christian evangelicals do not like Mitt Romneys
Mormonism.
Evangelicals oppose Rudy Giuliani for his views
on abortion and his rocky personal history
80
Trends in Religiosity
How important would you say religion is in your
own lifevery important, fairly important, or not
very important?
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What are Moral Values?
  • In a November 2004 Pew Research Center poll,
    respondents were asked What one issue mattered
    most to you in deciding how you voted for
    president? Half of those participating were read
    a close-ended list of options identical to those
    used on the exit poll. Under those conditions,
    27 said moral values, 22 Iraq, and 21 jobs and
    the economy. The other half were asked for
    open-ended responses to the question. This time,
    25 said the Iraq, 12 jobs and the economy, and
    just 9 moral values. But regardless of how the
    question was asked, the survey showed that moral
    values were the most frequently cited issue for
    Bush voters, but were seldom mentioned by Kerry
    voters.
  • In the Pew poll, 44 of those who chose moral
    values as the most important factor in their vote
    said the term related to specific concerns over
    social issues, such as abortion and gay marriage.
    However, others did not cite specific policy
    issues, and instead pointed to factors like the
    candidates' personal qualities (e.g., honesty,
    integrity, trustworthiness) or made general
    allusions to religion and values.
  • In short, the definition of moral values is in
    the eye of the beholder Gary Langer, polling
    director for ABC News, later argued that this
    hot-button catch phrase had no place alongside
    defined political issues on the list of most
    important concerns in the 2004 vote. Its
    presence there created a deep distortionone that
    threatens to misinform the political discourse
    for years to come.

83
Vote by Religion, 1944-1992
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86
Which issues matter most?
87
Necessary Conditions for Issue Voting
  • Awareness of issue
  • Intensity of feeling
  • Perception of party differences
  • Willingness to override partisan identification

Which issues are most likely to meet these
conditions?
88
Necessary Conditions for Issue Voting
  • Voters must be aware of the issue and form an
    opinion about it that meets some minimal level of
    intensity. In general, the stronger the
    intensity of an attitude, the more likely someone
    is to act on it
  • Voters must know the issue positions of the
    candidates or their parties and be aware of
    differences between them
  • Finally, they must be willing to vote on the
    basis of issues that divide the candidates, and
    not on some other criteria, such as party
    identification, or candidate charisma.

Which issues are most likely to meet these
conditions?
89
Presidential Voting and Economic Growth
Retrospective voting on the economy provides an
information short-cut.
2008
90
Pocketbook votingvs. Sociotropic voting
91
Perceived Economic Conditions, 1980-2008
Perceptions of the economy mattered in 1992, more
than reality.
Source National Election Study, various years.
92
Democratic Party Strengths Among Republican
Voters
More than any other issue, the environment seems
to suggest the potential for vote defection
93
Issue Voting and the Environment
94
Necessary Conditions for Issue Voting
95
Why Dont Americans Vote Green?
  • Low issue salience
  • Small perceived differences between candidates on
    matters of environmental policy
  • The tendency of environmental concern to cut
    across traditional (and more powerful) cleavages,
    including partisan identification

96
Is the environment a salient political issue?
Environmental concern only influences the vote
when those attitudes are highly salient
97
Do political candidates take clear and opposing
positions on the environment?
Greenwashing
98
Partisanship and environmental concern can pull
voters in opposite directions
99
Partisanship and the Environment in the 1996
Presidential Election
Tougher regulations on business needed to protect
the environment
Regulations to protect environment already too
much of a burden on business
ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION SCALE
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101
Candidate Evaluations
  • Maybe a nation that consumes as much booze and
    dope as we do and has our kind of divorce
    statistics should pipe down about character
    issues. Either that or just go ahead and
    determine the presidency with three-legged races
    and pie-eating contests. It would make better
    TV.
  • P. J. O'Rourke

102
Candidate Evaluations
There is at least one enduring truth in the study
of voting behaviorcitizens vote in overwhelming
numbers for the presidential candidate they like
the most. Candidates are important in at least
two ways
  • In the traits they convey (e.g., honesty,
    trustworthiness, intelligence)
  • In the feelings they evoke (e.g., anger, hope,
    pride, fear)

103
Presidential Debates
  • 1960 Kennedy/Nixon debate
  • 1988 Kitty Dukakis question
  • 1992 Clinton/Bush on the economy
  • 2000 Gores personality
  • 2004 Kerry as a flip-flopper, Bushs body
    language

104
1960 Kennedy-Nixon Debate
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106
1980 Putting It All Together
107
1980 Putting It All Together
  • Reagan won because of his policy positions. He
    earned a mandate to bring about several
    fundamental changes in the role of the government
    in American social and economic life (e.g.,
    reduced government spending and taxes an
    expansion of the national defense)
  • Carter lost because he was the victim of several
    unfortunate eventsa devastating combination of
    inflation and growing unemployment unsuccessful
    energy and foreign policies the Iranian Hostage
    Crisis. Carters handling of these problems
    resulted in a repudiation of the incumbent
    Presidents leadership skills, which paved the
    way for Reagans ascension to power.

108
Trends in Partisan Identification During the 1980
Presidential Campaign
Trends in party identification during the 1980
campaign showed the persistence of a Democratic
plurality
109
Assessments of Spending Levels of Selected
Government Programs, 1980
Few respondents thought that government spending
was too high on social programs
110
Issue Proximities on Defense Spending, 1980
The average voter in 1980 was closer to Reagans
position on defense spending, than Carters.
Reduce spending
Increase spending
111
Comparative Assessment of Candidate Attributes,
1980
Reagan was a stronger candidate than Carter.
Carter stronger
Reagan stronger
Solve economic problems
Provide strong leadership
Strong
Informed
Honest
Maintain good foreign relations
NOTE Each entry is the proportion of those
giving Carter a favorable rating minus the
proportion giving Reagan a favorable rating.
112
1992 Putting It All Together
113
1992 Putting It All Together
  • Party identification was less important in 1992.
    The Perot factor meant that an unusually high
    proportion of voters did not vote for their
    partys candidate. Meanwhile, Republicans were
    less loyal to Bush. Clinton captured the vote of
    moderates who had voted for Reagan and Bush over
    the past three elections (including the so-called
    Reagan-Democrats).
  • The economy was the most important issue in 1992.
    In 1992, 73 felt that economic conditions had
    gotten worse over the past year. Bill Clinton
    successfully marketed himself as a different kind
    of Democrat.
  • Candidate appeal worked to Bushs disadvantage.
    His thermometer score in 1992 was 52.3the second
    lowest of all major-party nominees since 1968
    (only George McGoverns was lower). The Gulf War
    had raised Bushs popularity, but it did not last
    long. Saddam Hussein was still in power and Bush
    looked like an indecisive leader. He was also
    harmed when he broke his no new taxes pledge.
    Nearly half of those polled said they felt
    angry and afraid when they thought about
    Bush. In contrast, Clinton evoked feelings of
    hope, compassion, and empathy. He was also seen
    as the candidate who was inspiring and who
    could get things done. The only area in which
    Bush swamped Clinton was in integrity and
    moralitynever Clintons strong suit.

114
2000 Putting It All Together
Because of peace and prosperity, most econometric
models of the race predicted a Gore win at
somewhere between 53 to 60. His actual total
was closer to 49. The conditions Gore faced were
favorable to the incumbent presidents party, and
as its standard bearer he should have received
credit for it, but he did not. He fell well short
of expectations. Why?
115
2000 Putting It All Together
116
2000 Putting It All Together
  • HYPOTHESIS 1 Blame Nader. Unlike with Perot,
    the third party challenge in 2000 came from the
    left, siphoning off votes for Gore.
  • HYPOTHESIS 2 Gore's notoriously aloof
    personality turned voters off. There is little
    evidence to support that conclusion, however.
    Data tell us that voters were rather lukewarm
    towards both candidates in 2000.
  • HYPOTHESIS 3 Gore lost because he ran too far
    to the left. Clinton was a centrist Democratic,
    while Gore was an old-fashioned liberal.
    According to a recent study published by Morris
    Fiorina, Gores politics probably cost him about
    4 of the voteenough to lose the election,
    perhaps, but not quite enough to explain all of
    the expectations gap.
  • HYPOTHESIS 4 Gore lost because of Clinton
    fatigue. Tired of Clinton's sex scandals, voters
    decided (belatedly) to punish someone, even if it
    wasnt the right man. Apparently, this is Gores
    own explanation for what happened. But it doesnt
    let him off the hook completely. Traditionally,
    elections hinge on fundamentals like peace and
    prosperity, which are either credited or blamed
    to the incumbent president and his party. In
    Gore's case, he avoided running on those issues
    because he feared associating with Clinton. He
    feared that voters wouldnt be able to separate
    the good (peace and prosperity) from the bad (sex
    scandals), so it was best to avoid running on the
    Clinton record at all. That was probably a
    mistakeas Clinton has enjoyed pointing out
    later. It probably cost Gore another 3-4
    percentage points.

117
2000
Feelings
Traits
118
NES Thermometer Scales
Average feeling thermometer rating towards the
candidates in 2000 Al Gore 57 George W. Bush
56
119
2004 Putting It All Together
120
2004
Feelings
Traits
121
2004
Presidents handing of the war in Iraq
122
2004 Exit Poll Results
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