2 The Modern Campaign Machine Over the past 50 years, campaigning for public office has changed dramaticallyModern Campaign Machine:Campaigns are impersonalCampaigns are less party-centered and more candidate-centeredRising cost of campaignsImage-centered campaignConsultant-centered campaign
3 Features of Consultant-Centered Campaign Raising contributionsSeeking endorsements of organized groupsArranging for the candidate to speak at meetings or organized groupsFormation of groups for grass roots neighborhood supportExtensive advertising campaign
4 Campaign StaffCampaign consultant: paid professional who specializes in the overall management of political campaigns or a central aspect of a campaign (James Carville and Paula Begala)Campaign manager: professional who oversees much of the day-to-day affairs of a campaign; responsible for strategic and managerial tasks, from fund-raising to staffingFund-raising consultantMedia consultant
5 How American Elections Work Elections socialize and institutionalize political activityThree types of elections:Select party nominees (primary elections)Select officeholders (general elections)Select options on specific policiesReferendum: state-level method of direct legislation that gives voters a chance to approve proposed legislation or constitutional amendmentInitiative petition: process permitted in some states whereby voters may put proposed changes in the state constitution to a vote, given a sufficient number of signatures
6 A Tale of Three Elections 1800: The First Electoral Transition of PowerNo primaries, no conventions, no speechesNewspapers were very partisan.Campaigns focused not on voters but on state legislatures who chose electors.After many votes in the House, the office of the presidency was transferred to Jefferson peacefully.
7 The Polarizing presidency 2004: The Ratification of a Polarizing PresidencyGeorge W. Bush became the fourth Republican since McKinley to win a second term.The intensity of the election was in part due to the controversy of the 2000 election.The 2004 campaign was characterized by negative campaigning.Leadership of the War on Terrorism and “moral values” proved to be key issues.
8 Whether to Vote: A Citizen’s First Choice Suffrage: the legal right to voteExtended to African Americans by the 15th AmendmentExtended to Women by the 19th AmendmentExtended to people over 18 years of age by the 26th Amendment
10 Not-Voting as Rational Choice? U.S. has low voter turnoutRational abstention thesis: theory that some individuals decide the cost of voting exceed the benefitsDowns: it is rational to not voteThose who see clear differences between parties are likely to vote.If indifferent, then one may rationally abstain from voting.Political Efficacy: the belief that one’s political participation really mattersCivic Duty: the belief that in order to support democratic government, a citizen should always vote
11 Does Low Turnout Matter? Some argue it is a not a critical problemBased on belief that preferences of nonvoters are not much different from those who do voteSo…results would be the same regardlessNonvoting is voluntaryNonvoting driven by acceptance of the status quoOthers believe it is a problemVoters do not represent nonvotersSocial make-up and attitudes of nonvoters today are significantly different from those of votersTend to be low income, younger, blue collar, less educated and more heavily minority
12 Voter Turnout Over time From Government in America, 13th edition.
13 Voting Behavior Conventional political participation Political participation that attempts to influence the political process through well- accepted, often moderate forms of persuasionUnconventional political participationPolitical participation that attempts to influence the political process through unusual or extreme measures, such as protests, boycotts, and picketing
14 Voter Registration Registering To Vote Voter Registration: a system adopted by the states that requires voters to register well in advance of the election dayRegistration procedures differ by state.Motor Voter Act: passed in 1993, requires states to permit people to register to vote when they apply for their driver’s license
15 Patterns in Voter Turnout Turnout: the proportion of the voting-age public that votes40% of the eligible adult population votes25% are occasional voters35% rarely voteEducation: Voters tend to be more educatedIncome: More voters have higher incomesAge: Younger people vote lessGender: Women vote at the same rate or slightly higher rate than menRace and Ethnicity:Whites vote more regularly than African Americans – related to income and educational differences in the two groupsHispanics vote less than African AmericansHave potential to wield much influence given their increasing sizeInterest in politics: Those interested in politics vote more
20 Patterns in Vote Choice Party IdentificationMost powerful predictor voter behaviorTicket-splitting: voting for candidates of different parties for various offices in the same electionRace and EthnicityWhites increased tendency to vote RepublicanAfrican Americans vote overwhelmingly for DemocratsHispanics also tend to identify with and vote for DemocratsKerry 53 percent; Bush 44 percentAsian Americans less monolithicWomen today more likely to support Democratic candidatesGender gap varies by electionPoor vote more often for Democrats; wealthier for RepublicansIdeology related closely to vote choiceConservatives for RepublicansLiberals for DemocratsIssuesRetrospective judgmentProspective judgmentRetrospective judgmentA voter’s evaluation of the performance of the party in powerProspective judgmentA voter’s evaluation of a candidate based on what he or she pledges to do about an issue if electedThree requirements for prospective voting:Voters must have an opinion on an issueVoters must have an idea of what action, if any, the government is taking on the issueVoters must see a difference between the two parties on the issue.
21 Efforts to Improve Voter Turnout Easier Registration and Absentee VotingMake Election Day a HolidayStrengthen PartiesOther suggestionsHolding fewer electionsProportional representation system for congressional electionsSaturday or Sunday election dayMaking voting mandatoryTax creditsElection weeks rather than election daysInternet voting
22 Mandate and Elections Mandate Theory of Elections The idea that the winning candidate has a mandate from the people to carry out his or her platforms and politicsPoliticians like the theory better than political scientists do.
23 Party Identification and Elections People still generally vote for a party they agree with.With the rise of candidate-centered politics, parties’ hold on voters declined in the 1960s and 1970s.Many more voters make an individual voting decision and are up for grabs each election, (so- called floating voters).
25 Evaluating Political Candidates Candidate Evaluations: How Americans See the CandidatesCandidates want a good visual image.Especially on dimensions of integrity, reliability, and competencePersonality plays a role in vote choice, especially if a candidate is perceived to be incompetent or dishonest.
26 How Americans Vote: Explaining Citizens’ Decisions Policy VotingBasing your vote choice on issue preferences and where the candidates stand on policy issuesPolicy voting may occur if :Voters know where they and the candidates stand on issues and see differences between candidatesUnlikely to occur because:Candidates can be ambiguous on the issues.Media tend to focus on the “horse race” not issues.Today candidates are forced to take a clear stand in the party primaries increasing chances for policy voting.
27 Understanding Elections and Voting Behavior Democracy and ElectionsThe greater the policy differences between candidates, the more likely voters will be able to steer government policy by their choices.Unlikely—candidates do not always clarify issuesCandidates who vow to continue popular policies are more likely to win elections.Retrospective voting: voters cast a vote based on what a candidate has done for them latelyThose who feel worse off are likely to vote against incumbents.Bad economies make politicians nervous.
28 Understanding Elections and Voting Behavior Elections and the Scope of GovernmentElections generally support government policies and power.Voters feel they are sending a message to government to accomplish somethingThus, the government expands to fill the needs of the voters.
29 Summary Voters make two basic decisions at election time: Whether to voteWho to vote forParty identification, candidate evaluations, and policy positions drive vote choice.Elections are fundamental to a democracy.