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Elections%20and%20Voting%20Behavior

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Elections and Voting Behavior Chapter 10 – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Elections%20and%20Voting%20Behavior


1
Elections and Voting Behavior
  • Chapter 10

2
How American Elections Work
  • Three types of elections
  • Select party nominees (primary elections take
    place in spring)
  • Select officeholders (general elections takes
    place in Nov.)
  • Select options on specific policies (special
    elections)

3
Special Elections Ballot Measures
  • Referendum
  • State voters approve or disapprove proposed
    legislation.
  • Often used for constitutional amendments.
  • Initiative petition
  • Voters in some states propose legislation to be
    voted on.
  • Requires a specific number of signatures to be
    valid.
  • Can still be voted down by the people.

4
The Expansion of Suffrage
  • Suffrage or franchise is the right to vote
  • It has been expanded throughout US history
  • Today nearly all Americans over the age of 18 can
    vote in elections

5
The Expansion of Suffrage
  • 15th Amendment (1870) granted suffrage to African
    Americans (and other non-whites)
  • 19th Amendment (1920) granted suffrage to women
  • 26th Amendment (1971) set the minimum voting age
    at 18 (from 21)

6
Whether to Vote A Citizens First Choice
  • Deciding Whether to Vote
  • U.S. typically has low voter turnoutshistorically
    around 50 in most presidential elections.
  • Some argue it is a rational choice to not vote.

7
Whether to Vote A Citizens First Choice
  • The Decline of Turnout 1892-2004 (Figure 10.2)

8
Whether to Vote Registration
  • 49 states require registrationofficially signing
    up to vote.
  • Registration procedures differ from state to
    state.
  • Registration requirements reduce turnout
  • It requires voters to register well in advance of
    the election day.
  • Motor Voter Act Requires states to permit people
    to register to vote when they apply for their
    drivers license.

9
Other reasons cited for not voting
  • Some believe there is little ideological
    difference between the two parties candidates
  • They believe one vote among millions cast doesnt
    matter
  • They are unable to leave work on a Tuesday to
    vote

10
Some reasons people are more likely to vote
  • They perceive an ideological difference between
    candidates
  • They have a sense of political efficacythey
    believe their vote makes a difference
  • The want to perform their civic duty in a
    democracy

11
Predict who is likely to vote
  • Gender
  • Race (Caucasian, Latino, African American)
  • Age
  • Education
  • Religion (pick three)
  • Income
  • Urban or rural

12
Whether to Vote A Citizens First Choice
  • Who Votes?
  • Education More education more likely to vote.
    Most important factor.
  • Age Older more likely to vote.
  • Race Caucasian more likely to vote. BUT, other
    ethnicities are higher with comparable education.
  • Gender Female more likely to vote.

13
Whether to Vote A Citizens First Choice
  • Who Votes? (continued)
  • Marital Status Married more likely to vote.
  • Union Membership Union member more likely to
    vote.
  • Traits are cumulative - possessing several adds
    up.

14
Voter Reforms
  • Studies show that if turnout increases among
    groups with low rates, Democrats would probably
    receive more votes
  • Republicans are unlikely to support reforms that
    would cost them this advantage

15
Whether to Vote A Citizens First Choice
16
Who Votes How?
  • Republicans
  • Upper income, evangelical Christians,
    conservative religious, Cuban Americans
  • Democrats
  • African Americans, Jews, women, Latinos

17
How Americans VoteExplaining Citizens Decisions
  • Mandate Theory of Elections
  • The idea that the winning candidate has a mandate
    from the people to carry out his or her platforms
    and politics.
  • Politicians like the theory better than political
    scientists do.

18
How Americans Vote Explaining Citizen's Decisions
  • 1. Party Identification
  • People generally vote for the party they agree
    with.
  • They dont have to become informed about every
    issue
  • This trend is declining as parties have lost some
    significance in the political process (with rise
    of Independents)

19
How Americans Vote Explaining Citizens Decisions
20
How Americans Vote Explaining Citizen's Decisions
  • 2. Candidates Personalities
  • A candidates appearance may play an unconscious
    role in decision-making
  • People tend to value integrity, reliability, and
    competence.
  • Voters with college education are more likely to
    base their decision on personality

21
How Americans Vote Explaining Citizen's Decisions
  • 3. Policy Preferences
  • People vote for candidates who share their policy
    preferences.
  • Must know where they and the candidates stand on
    issues and see differences between candidates.
  • Candidates can be ambiguous on the issues.
  • Today candidates are forced to take a clear stand
    in the party primaries.
  • Retrospective Voting choosing a candidate who
    vows to continue policies helpful to him/her

22
The Last Battle The Electoral College
  • Electoral College actually elects the President -
    founders wanted president chosen by the elite of
    the country
  • States choose the electors
  • Winner-Take-All system gives bigger emphasis to
    more populated states and swing states during
    campaign

23
The Last Battle The Electoral College
  • How it works today
  • Each state has as many votes as it does
    Representatives and Senators.
  • Winner of popular vote typically gets ALL the
    Electoral College votes.
  • Electors meet in December, votes are reported by
    the vice president in January.
  • If no candidate gets 270 votes (a majority), the
    House of Representatives votes for president,
    with each state getting ONE vote.

24
Electoral College Winner Take All
  • 48 states are winner-take-all
  • If Candidate A gets 51 and Candidate B gets 49
    of vote, Candidate A gets all electoral votes
  • In Oregon, A7 B0

25
Electoral College Maine and Nebraska
  • Separate vote by House district
  • Popular vote winner in each district gets the
    electoral vote
  • Winner of state popular vote gets final 2
    electoral votes
  • (show map www.270towin.c0m)

26
2000 Election
  • Illustrates a key weakness to the Electoral
    Collegewinner of popular vote can lose in the
    E.C.
  • Bush won more small states which are
    overrepresented in E.C.
  • Gore won more populous statesthey are
    underrepresented in E.C.
  • Overall popular vote was close

27
The Last Battle The Electoral College
28
Should the Electoral College be Reformed?
  • Think-Pair-Share Activity
  • Make a list of the greatest benefits and greatest
    weaknesses of the Electoral College system (3 of
    eachat least)
  • Should the system be reformed? How? Defend your
    answer.

29
Evaluating the E.C.
  • Weaknesses
  • Doesnt always represent the popular vote totals
  • Small states overrepresented / large states
    underrepresented
  • Faithless electors
  • Deflates voter turnout
  • Campaigns ignore some states
  • Strengths
  • Winner-Take-All system provides a clear victor
  • Clear, Quick results
  • Traditional system / known quantity
  • Reduced risk of fraud

30
Understanding Elections and Voting Behavior
  • Democracy and Elections
  • Voters can steer government only when there are
    noticeable policy differences between the
    candidates.
  • Candidates who vow to continue popular policies
    are more likely to win elections.
  • Policies affect voting behavior through
    retrospective voting.
  • Bad economies make politicians nervous.
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