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Voting Behavior


Voting Behavior Political Parties & Elections I never vote for anyone. I always vote against. W.C. Fields (1879-1946) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Voting Behavior

Voting Behavior
  • Political Parties Elections

I never vote for anyone. I always vote
against. W.C. Fields (1879-1946)
Models of Voting Behavior
  • Sociological Vote choice is a function of group
  • 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.

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

  • 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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Key Influences on Voting Behavior
  • Social/demographic traits (e.g., race, gender,
  • Partisan identification
  • Issue positions
  • Candidate evaluations

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

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."
Vote Choice for President by Gender

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

Trends in Partisan Identification Among Women,
Trends in Partisan Identification Among Men,
Party Strengths Among Male and Female Voters
Which political party do you think would do a better job? Which political party do you think would do a better job? Which political party do you think would do a better job?
Handling the nations economy Handling the nations economy R by 8 points D by 10 points
Handling foreign affairs Handling foreign affairs R by 20 points D by 2 points
Making health care more affordable Making health care more affordable D by 26 points D by 42 points
Reforming the welfare system Reforming the welfare system R by 11 points D by 17 points
Handling the problem of poverty Handling the problem of poverty D by 23 points D by 34 points
Handling the budget deficit Handling the budget deficit R by 14 points D by 2 points
Handling the problem of pollution and the environment Handling the problem of pollution and the environment D by 32 points D by 33 points
Dealing with the crime problem Dealing with the crime problem R by 12 points D by 5 points
Top 10 Signs Youre a Security Mom
  1. Your attack dog has a bin Laden chew toy.
  2. You base your SUV purchase on how many places
    there are to conceal a weapon.
  3. Your neighborhood watch complains you dont leave
    any perps for them.
  4. Youll vote for Bush because the other guy is a
  5. You traded in your Gucci for the M-30 Leather Gun
  6. The guys at the range call you Sarge.
  7. You send your kids to Judo Camp.
  8. Your son quits the Boy Scouts because they were
    amateurs. (MP personal favorite)
  9. Monday is MRE Night.
  10. You DO wear combat boots.

Identity Politics, 2008
Identity Politics, 2008
Did blacks support Barack Obama?
Did women support Sarah Palin?
2008 Exit Polls
"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."
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?
Vote for President by Race, 1952-2004
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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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
  • 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.

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

Voter Turnout by Age, 2004
Ages 18-24 52 42
Ages 25-44 60 52
Ages 45-64 73 67
Ages 65-74 77 71
Ages 75 77 67
Total 66 58
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
  • 28 wanted to be a community leader.
  • In contrast, 73 of college freshmen said they
    wanted to be well-off financially.

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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A Rise in Independents?
  • Not all respondents classified as Independents
    label themselves that way.
  • Most independents are, in fact, hidden

Party Identifiers Voting for Their Partys
Presidential Candidate
1968 1972 1976 1980 1984 1988 1992 1996
Strong Democrats 85 73 91 86 87 93 93 96
Weak Democrats 58 48 74 60 67 70 69 82
Independents, closer to Democrats 52 60 72 45 79 88 71 76
Independents -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Independents, closer to Republicans 82 86 83 76 92 84 62 68
Weak Republicans 82 90 77 86 93 83 60 70
Strong Republicans 96 97 96 92 96 98 87 94
Trends in Partisan Identification,
1952-2004Including Leaners
Source National Election Studies, various years.
Trends in Partisan Identification, 1952-2004
Partisan Loyalty
Partisan Identification
Partisan identification has been called the most
important single influence on political opinions
and voting behavior. It is defined by these
  • 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

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
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
A Rise in Independents?
  • Not all respondents classified as Independents
    label themselves that way.
  • Most independents are, in fact, hidden

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.
Religion and Voting Behavior, 2004
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
2004 Exit Poll Results