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Political Participation and Voter Behavior

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Title: Political Participation and Voter Behavior


1
Political Participation and Voter Behavior
  • Who Participates?
  • Voter Turnout
  • Voter Registration

2
Political Participation
  • Encompasses the various activities that citizens
    employ in their efforts to influence policy
    making and the selection of leaders

3
Political Participation
  • People participate in politics in many ways
  • They may write their representative or senator
  • Work for a candidate or political party
  • Make presentations to their local school board or
    city council

4
Political Participation
  • Partly because our federalist system, people have
    many opportunities to participate in our
    democracy on
  • National level
  • State level
  • Local level

5
Political Participation
  • Some forms of participation are more common than
    others
  • Some citizens participate more than others

6
Political Participation
  • Americans in general are comparatively active in
    politics
  • However, the U.S. is notorious among modern
    democracies in voter turnout rates

7
Political Participation
  • Turnout for the U.S. presidential election of
    2000 was about 50
  • By contrast, most western democracies in Europe
    have vote rates well above 70

8
Types of Participation
  • Researchers have found for years that American
    citizens most commonly participate in national
    politics by following presidential campaigns
    voting in presidential elections

9
Types of Participation
  • According to the National Election studies from
    the Center for Political Studies at the
    University of Michigan, Americans reported the
    following types of political participation during
    the campaign election of 2000

10
Types of Participation
  • 82 watched the campaign on TV
  • 73 voted in the election
  • 34 tried to influence others how to vote
  • 10 put a sticker on their car or wore a button

11
Types of Participation
  • 9 gave money to help a campaign
  • 5 attended a political meeting
  • 3 worked for a party or candidate
  • Lesser participated in protests

12
Types of Participation
  • These statistics can be deceptive because they
    reflect how people say they participate
  • Despite the fact that 73 said they voted in the
    2000 election, about 50 actually did

13
Types of Participation
  • One explanation is that people know that they
    should vote dont want to admit it if they did
    not

14
Who Participates?
  • Experts have found several demographics (social
    economic characteristics) to be strongly
    associated with high levels of political
    participation

15
Who Participates?
  • 1. Education
  • 2. Religious Involvement
  • 3. Race Ethnicity
  • 4. Age
  • 5. Gender

16
Education
  • Single most important characteristic of a
    politically active citizen is a high level of
    education
  • Generally, the more education an individual has,
    the more likely he or she is to vote

17
Education
  • Generally, the more education an individual has,
    the more likely he or she is to vote

18
Why?
19
Education
  • Perhaps the well educated better understand
    complex societal issues
  • Maybe they better understand the importance of
    civic responsibility

20
Education
  • Or it could just be that their occupation are
    more flexible in allowing them to take time to go
    to the polls

21
Religious Involvement
  • As religious involvement increases, so does
    political participation

22
Why?
23
Religious Involvement
  • Some possibilities are that church involvement
    leads to
  • 1. Social connectedness
  • 2. Teaches organizational skills
  • 3. Increases ones awareness or larger societal
    issues

24
Race Ethnicity
  • If only race ethnicity are considered, whites
    have higher voting rates than do blacks Latinos

25
Race Ethnicity
  • However, that tendency is somewhat deceptive
  • Some studies that control for income education
    differences have found that voting races are
    about the same for white, blacks, and Latinos

26
Age
  • Despite the big push in the early 1970s to allow
    18 yr. olds to vote, voting levels for 18-24 year
    olds are the lowest of any age category

27
Age
  • Older people are more likely to vote than are
    younger people
  • The highest percentages of eligible voters who
    actually vote are in those groups 45 and above

28
Gender
  • For many years women were underrepresented in the
    voting booths
  • In recent elections, they have turned out in at
    least equal numbers to men

29
Age
  • Since 1992, turnout among women voters has
    exceeded that of men
  • This trend is relatively new

30
Who Participates?
  • It is important to note that an individual is
    affected by many factors his or her age, social
    class, education level, race, gender, and party
    affiliation

31
Who Participates?
  • These factors form cross-cutting cleavages
  • Making it very important to control for other
    factors that may produce a counter influence

32
Who Participates?
  • For example, in order to compare gender
    differences in voting rates, a researcher would
    have to compare men women of similar ages,
    education level, race, party affiliation

33
Who Participates?
  • Otherwise, the voting behavior may be caused by a
    factor other than gender
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