Presentation on theme: "Voters and Voter Behavior"— Presentation transcript:
1Voters and Voter Behavior Chapter 6.4Voters and Voter Behavior“Your vote is your voice.”
2Focus Your Thoughts . . . Why do we vote? Why do you think that only half of American citizens who are of legal voting age choose to exercise this extremely important right?What are some justifiable reasons for a person’s failure to vote.
3Nonvoters Idiot (Greek) – Those citizens who do not vote or otherwise take part in public life.“The Thinker”- Auguste Rodin
4Nearly 95 million people did not vote. The Size of the ProblemIn the 2000 election in which George W. Bush narrowly beat Al Gore, only 56.7% of the population voted . . .Nearly 95 million people did not vote.George W. Bush won the electoral votes of the state of Florida, and thereby the Presidency, by a margin of less than 500 votes.Al Gore & George W. Bush
5Why People Do Not Vote “Cannot-Voters” 10 million are resident aliens, or illegal immigrants, who are banned from the polls5 to 6 million were so ill or otherwise physically disabled they simply couldn’t participate2 to 3 million persons were traveling suddenly and unexpectedly and could not vote500,000 individuals in mental health care facilities or under some other form of legal restraint2 million adults in jail/prison100,000 cannot vote because of their religious beliefsThey view voting as idolatry
6Why People Do Not Vote Actual Nonvoters 80 million voters who could have participated did notMany who could go to the polls but do not are convinced that their “one vote” makes little real difference in regards to who wins an electionTwo GroupsThose who generally approve of the way the public’s business is being managed and believe that no matter who wins the election, things will continue to go well for them and the country.Those who feel alienated and deliberately refuse to vote because they don’t trust political institutions/processes; elections are meaningless, choiceless exercises.Political efficacy
7Other Factors Affecting Turnout Cumbersome election procedures – inconvenient registration requirements, long ballots, and long lines at polling places discourage voters“Time-zone fallout” – polls in the Eastern and Central time zones close before polls in the Mountain and Pacific time zones; the news media has often already projected a winner based upon exit poll reports from East Coast and Midwestern states and this discourages West Coast votersThe chief cause for non-voting is simply a lack of interest.Many individuals do not even know the simplest facts about the candidates and issues involved in an election.
8Comparing Voters and Non-Voters Higher levels of incomeHigher levels of educationHigher occupational statusWell-integrated in community lifeLong-time residentsStrong sense of party identificationWomen are more likely to vote than menYounger than 35SingleUnskilledMore likely to live in the South and/or in rural areas
9Studying Voting Behavior Most of what is known about voter behavior comes from three sources:The results of particular electionsThe field of survey researchStudies of political socializationThe process by which individuals gain their political attitudes and opinions
10Sociological FactorsSociology is the study of groups and how people behave within groups.Voter’s personal characteristics – age, race, income, occupation, education, religion, etc.Voter’s group affiliations – Family, co-workers, friends, etc.
11Income, Occupation, & Education Individuals earning $30,000 or less tend to vote DemocratIndividuals earning $40 - $50 split down the middleIndividuals earning $50,000 + tend to vote RepublicanOccupationProfessionals and business people tend to vote RepublicanManual and unskilled laborers tend to vote DemocraticEducationCollege graduates tend to vote Republican in higher percentages than high school graduates
12Gender, Age, Race, & Religion Women tend to favor Democratic presidential candidates, particularly when it comes to social issuesAgeYounger voters tend to favor Democratic presidential candidatesRaceMinorities tend to vote Democratic; whites tend to vote RepublicanReligionProtestants prefer the GOP; Catholics and Jews are more likely to vote Democratic
13Geography & Groups Geography Family & Other Groups Typically, large urban areas vote Democratic while smaller states tend to vote RepublicanThe Midwest tends to vote Republican, while the coasts tend to vote DemocraticFamily & Other GroupsTypically family members vote in very similar waysNine out of ten married couples share the same party identificationTwo out of three voters follow the political attachments of their parentsThose who work together are highly likely to vote in similar patterns
14Psychological Factors Psychology is the study of the mind and of individual behavior, a variety of psychological factors influence voter behavior, namely voter perceptions of politicsHow the voter sees the parties, the candidates, and the issues
15Party IdentificationParty identification – the loyalty of people to a particular political party is the single most significant and lasting predictor of how a person will vote.Straight-ticket voting – the practice of voting for candidates of only one party in an election.Split-ticket voting – the practice of voting for the candidates of more than one party in an election.Independents – this term is used to identify individuals who are independent of both the Republicans and the Democrats and of any minor party.1/4 to 1/3 of all voters today are registered as ‘independent’Tend to be young, above average in education, income, and job status.
16Candidates & IssuesThe most important short-term factor which can influence elections is the introduction of a new candidate or a new issue.If the impression a particular candidate makes on a voter is significant, this can impact the way in which they vote.In addition, if a candidate brings up a new issue, or takes a definitive stance on a controversial issue, this can also influence a voter.