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Elections and Voting Behavior

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1 Elections and Voting Behavior
Chapter 10

2 Legitimizing the political process
Elections provide for: Institutionalizing and socializing the political process. All forms of political participation can end here ….Voooooooootingggggggg Regular access to political power w/o violence. . Ballots instead of bullets. The way to choose the right candidates. . . They are the almost universally accepted fair and free method to choose leaders. Guiding policy direction - either by selecting a new person or by initiative and referendums

3 Three Types of Elections
Primary Elections- voters select party nominees General Elections- the contest between the candidates from different parties Initiatives and Referendums- voters engage in making or ratifying legislation at the state level only

4 Specific policy elections
Many U.S. states vote on their policies Referendum- ratifying a policy proposed by the state legislature(vote for it) Initiative petition- citizens proposing legislation (usually by gaining signatures on a proposed law equal to 1/10 of number of voters in previous election) Recall-removing a state or local official before the end of his or her term

5 1800: The First Electoral Transition of Power
No primaries, no nominating conventions, no candidate speeches, and no entourage of reporters State and local organizations promoted their causes Presidents were excluded from campaigns- seen as undignified for office Newspapers didn’t care about dignity or honesty Focus was on state legislatures, which chose electors Each elector cast two votes, and Jefferson tied with Aaron Burr House decided election Led to amendment calling for running mates (12th) This was the first peaceful transfer of power between parties. “Ballots instead of bullets”

6 1996: How did Clinton Win Again?
Turnout was below 50% (even with the Motor Voter Law) Ross Perot (Independent) raised campaign financing issues, national debt, NAFTA Clinton wins with less than 50% of vote (again) Becomes first Democratic president with Republican Congress

7 2000 Election: One of a Kind! Who will chose the winner?
Popular vote???? Electoral college???? Supreme Court ???? the people???? or all of the above! A campaign of Gore’s future proposals v. Bush’s attempt to “re-align” country around conservative proposals (Compassionate Conservativism) Media polls declared it was “too close to call” would not declare a winner until Florida vote was “legally” recounted because the spread between the two voters was less than 1/10th of one percent.

8 2000 Election: What We Know What do we know: Gore won the urban areas.
Bush won the burbs Gore won a majority of women and black voters Bush carried male vote decisively.

9 2000 Election: Florida Decides
Florida law mandated a recount because the margin was less than 1000 Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of the recount requested by Gore recount ballots in a way to show the “clear intention of the voter”. Bush vs. Gore: U.S. Supreme Court ruled that if one country is recounted, they all need to be recounted.

10 But there was not enough time remaining before December 12, when the Electoral College was to meet.
Soooooo…… Bush won Florida and got 271 electoral votes to Gore’s BUSH WINS. Al Gore won the popular vote, but Bush won in the Electoral College Florida has six million voters Bush’s eventual winning spread was 537!!! Only the 4th time the winner of the popular vote lost an election

11 What did we learn from this process?
Need to refine the voting process. Many races were very close and the machinery designed to count the votes was ooooooold in too many states --- and it is a State problem. Media can’t determine the winners, the voters must. Should Negative ads be allowed? (Living candidate analysis) Third parties can be a major factor in close elections. . .Nader’s Green party garnered 2.7% of the vote and 97,000 in Florida times more than the 537 vote margin separating Bush and Gore.

12 2004 Election Polls showed election too close to call but…..
GW won handily with 286 electoral votes and an overwhelming popular vote. . . Biggest popular vote win since the 1980’s. Maps showed red all over except in California and the NE and Minnesota. Bush also pulled larger wins in House and Senate, which disappeared in ’06 election. Did “re-alignment” occur?

13 Whether to Vote: A Citizen’s First Choice
Deciding Whether to Vote Legitimacy- the people’s belief that the government has the right to rule Political Efficacy: The belief that one’s political participation really matters. Civic Duty: The belief that in order to support democratic government, a citizen should always vote.

14 Registering to Vote In 1888, West Virginia had 159,000 votes but only 147,000 eligible voters States adopted voter registration to prevent fraud (North Dakota has no registration) Registration difficulty varies from state to state Biggest indicator of voting is voter registration Motor Voter Act 1993 required states to offer voter registration when citizens obtain their driver’s licenses. Registration is up but voting is down (Most politicians like it that way!) Recent proposals would require ID, registration, voting

15 Whether to Vote: A Citizen’s First Choice
Who Votes? These factors increase the likelihood of voting: Age Income Education Marriage Caucasian Female Union Member Government Worker Northerner

16 Sample Question Which of these would be most likely to vote?
A. a middle-aged professor at a private university B. a young southerner without a high school diploma C. a northerner with a high school diploma who is a union member D. a 63-year-old government worker with a doctorate E. a well-educated senior citizen who used to work for a big corporation Answer: D

17 How Do Voters Vote? The Mandate Theory of Elections is the idea that the winning candidate has a mandate (widespread support) from the people to carry out his or her policies. Political Scientists say 3 things influence voters: Party ID. . .although its waning vs. candidate centered elections. Being an incumbent may have more influence than the party in office. Voters don’t seem to mind divided gov’t. “Floating voters” or those so called independents, who vote for the candidate instead of the party beacon, are an issue. Both major parties seek their vote. And a successful campaign can attempt to lure them.

18 How Do Voters Vote? Policy voting is the idea that electoral choices are based on voters’ policy preferences and where the candidate stands on policy issues. This IS what a politician does once elected -- make policy- Now will he/she do what they claim? When given the option, voters’ policy choices carry IF the candidates positions are clear. . And there are wide policy differences between the candidates BUTTTT Too often this is not true. View of Candidate is the idea that a favorable image of a candidate will help them will Must focus on 3 things here: Integrity, Reliability, Competence Should also be dependable and decisive

19 How Do Voters Vote? Retrospective voting is the idea that incumbents who have provided desired results are rewarded with a new term and those who fail are not reelected. Voters CAN support candidates who will provide for them. Ronald Reagan coined it. . . “What have you done for me lately?” “Are you better off today than you were yesterday?” If yesssssss . . .vote for me again! Obviously major events and economics impact voter preferences. . .

20 Homework: Polling your community/family
Try to poll at least 10 people from your family/community. Ask them if they voted in the 2012 election DO NOT ask them who they voted for, just IF they voted. If they DID NOT vote, ask them why

21 Why Don’t People Vote? Institutional obstacles
Age, registration, citizenship Apathetic– No political efficacy. No sense of civic duty. Time issues – Too busy . . .costly to give up work . . .It’s a Tuesday Too many elections. . .diffuses enthusiasm No difference between the two parties. Third parties never win so no changes. Vote doesn’t matter, 1 of 100 million!

22 The Last Battle: The Electoral College
Electoral College actually elects the President- founders wanted him chosen by the elite of the country States choose the electors Winner-Take-All system gives bigger emphasis to more populated states battleground states Only Nebraska and Maine are Proportional But you can say the EC protects small states

23 The Last Battle: The Electoral College
How it works today: Each state has as many votes as it does Representatives and Senators (Minimum is 3) Amendment 23 gave D.C. 3 538 Electoral College votes Winner of popular vote typically gets ALL the Electoral College votes for that state. CA has most at 55 Electors meet in December, votes are reported by the vice president in January. If no candidate gets 270 votes (a majority), the House of Representatives votes for president, with each state getting ONE vote. Senate chooses VP from top two candidates

24 Criticisms of the Electoral College
Possibility of a minority President (1824,1876,1888). 'Faithless electors:' no fed. law requires electors to vote the way they are "supposed" to vote. Small states proportionately overrepresented. Small states ridiculously overrepresented if election goes to House, e.g., Alaska would have same voting power as California. Inhibits development of third parties. Today issue of swing states. – NV; MO, OH, PA, VA, NC, FL

25 Alternatives to the Electoral College
Direct election: everyone's vote would be worth the same. District system (candidate who wins a congressional district wins that district's electoral vote). Proportional system (candidate gets same % of electoral votes as popular votes). Keep electoral votes but abolish the electors themselves.

26 Effects of Campaigns Reinforcement Activation Conversion
Reinforces voters’ preferences for candidates Activation Getting them to contribute money or ring doorbells Conversion Changing voters’ minds- rarely happens Selective Perception Voters pay attention to what they already agree with

27 YouTube Presidential Campaign Propaganda
There are 12 different ways to design campaign commercials to help craft your image and get out your message. The following 12 examples demonstrate how this is done.

28 Name Recognition
Dwight D. Eisenhower (1952)

29 The Accomplished Biography
Barack Obama (2008)

30 Glittering Generalities
George W. Bush (2004)

31 Reminder of Good Times
Ronald Reagan (1984)

32 Keep it Simple
Hubert Humphrey (1968)

33 Make a Complex Problem Simple
Ronald Reagan (1984)

34 The Sound Byte John F. Kennedy (1960)

35 Fear Mongering
Lyndon Johnson (1964)

36 Attacking the Record
George H.W. Bush (1988)

37 527 Advertisements
John Kerry (2004)

38 Transfer John McCain (2008)

39 Celebrity Endorsement
Mike Huckabee (2008)

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