Presentation on theme: "Voting Behaviour The US electorate tends to be divided by religion, ethnicity, race and region. These are much more important in explaining voting patterns."— Presentation transcript:
Voting Behaviour The US electorate tends to be divided by religion, ethnicity, race and region. These are much more important in explaining voting patterns than class or income, which tend to predominate in the UK and Europe.
Voting Behaviour Traditionally, Republicans have been described as WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants), and the rest - Catholic, black, Jewish, and Southern - have tended to side with the Democrats. entered politics in 1946 and won election as a Democrat to the US House of Representatives.
Voting Behaviour However, one of the key changes in the last 25 years has been the shift of Southern whites towards the Republican party although President George Bush's Republicans recently have fared badly in state and local polls, losing races across the US. Mr Schwarzenegger's popularity has fallen sharply since 2003
Voting Behaviour What is the secret of the Republican's appeal to these voters?
Voting Behaviour For the last two decades, the parties have sought to mobilise their core supporters by appealing not to class but to "value" issues. The hot electoral issues in the USA are abortion, gun control and the environment. And many of these world views are linked to where you live, with city dwellers being both more ethnically diverse and more likely to hold the "liberal" views on these issues.
Voting Behaviour The rural voters, in contrast, hold more traditional views. They are strongly patriotic and less likely to question the President's right to set the foreign policy agenda.
Voting Behaviour they generally are more likely to oppose gun control and tight environmental protection, while worrying about whether there are too many abortions and single parents.
Voting Behaviour This polarises politics, with Democrats supporting Affirmative Action, redistribution of wealth, welfare rights, reform of the criminal justice system and other “liberal” causes. Republicans in turn, will emphasise policies which appeal to their white, middle class heartland. Issues such as tax cutting, law enforcement, welfare reform and cutting back on federal spending.
Voting Behaviour This will vary geographically. White Democrats in the South will be noticeably more conservative and will have more in common with their Republican “foes” than with black Democrats. This is because while they know they have the black vote “in the bag”, it is less likely to vote.
Voting Behaviour There is therefore a need to appeal to white voters in order to win. White voters in the Deep South are poorer, less liberal and more likely to vote Republican because of their social policies (for example, pro capital punishment, anti-abortion, anti-gay rights Kanye West admitted having anti-gay views when he was young
Voting Behaviour The largest cities and the biggest states are now disproportionately Democratic, while the rural areas and small states are trending Republican.
The Republicans lost six of the eight largest states in the last presidential election, capturing only Texas and Florida - but only just. However, again the Republicans ran strongly in the smaller rural states of West and South.
Voting Behaviour By European standards, both the Democrats and Republicans are remarkably similar in their ideology - or lack of it.
Voting Behaviour Instead, religion is a key element in the party coalitions, especially for the Republicans (although black Democrats are also strongly religious.) Evangelical Christians are far more likely to vote for the Republicans than any other group.
Voting Behaviour The Democrat coalition now includes both the richest income groups and the poorest - who tend to be disproportionately black or Hispanic
Voting Behaviour Bill Clinton drew both sides of his party together Bill Clinton was successful because of his ability to appeal to both the urban black poor, and to the rich Democrats who were his main funders.
Voting Behaviour The Republicans are also a coalition of the Christian conservatives, who feel strongly about "value issues" like abortion, and the small business community, who are strong advocates of tax cuts and deregulation
Voting Behaviour George W Bush himself belongs to a special subset of the business community - Texas oilmen - but he has found it necessary to reach out to the religious right through his special adviser, Karl Rove. (pictured)