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Political Participation and Voter Behavior Who Participates? Voter Turnout Voter Registration.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Participation and Voter Behavior Who Participates? Voter Turnout Voter Registration."— Presentation transcript:

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 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 People participate in politics in many ways They may write their representative or senator They may write their representative or senator Work for a candidate or political party Work for a candidate or political party Make presentations to their local school board or city council 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: Partly because our federalist system, people have many opportunities to participate in our democracy on: National level National level State level State level Local level Local level

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

6 Political Participation Americans in general are comparatively active in politics Americans in general are comparatively active in politics However, the U.S. is notorious among modern democracies in voter turnout rates 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% 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% 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 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: 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 82% watched the campaign on TV 73% voted in the election 73% voted in the election 34% tried to influence others how to vote 34% tried to influence others how to vote 10% put a sticker on their car or wore a button 10% put a sticker on their car or wore a button

11 Types of Participation 9% gave money to help a campaign 9% gave money to help a campaign 5% attended a political meeting 5% attended a political meeting 3% worked for a party or candidate 3% worked for a party or candidate Lesser % participated in protests 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 One explanation is that people know that they should vote & don’t want to admit it if they did not One explanation is that people know that they should vote & don’t 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 Experts have found several demographics (social & economic characteristics) to be strongly associated with high levels of political participation

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

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

17 Education

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 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 As religious involvement increases, so does political participation

22 Why?

23 Religious Involvement Some possibilities are that church involvement leads to: Some possibilities are that church involvement leads to: 1. Social connectedness 1. Social connectedness 2. Teaches organizational skills 2. Teaches organizational skills 3. Increases one’s awareness or larger societal issues 3. Increases one’s awareness or larger societal issues

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

25 Race & Ethnicity However, that tendency is somewhat deceptive 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 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 year olds are the lowest of any age category Despite the big push in the early 1970s to allow 18 yr. olds to vote, voting levels for year olds are the lowest of any age category

27 Age Older people are more likely to vote than are younger people 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 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 For many years women were underrepresented in the voting booths In recent elections, they have turned out in at least equal numbers to men 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 Since 1992, turnout among women voters has exceeded that of men This trend is relatively new 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 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 These factors form cross- cutting cleavages Making it very important to control for other factors that may produce a counter influence 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 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 Otherwise, the voting behavior may be caused by a factor other than gender


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