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Chapter 6 Voters and Voter Behavior Section 4: Voter Behavior. Lesson Objectives: By the end of this lesson you will be able to: Examine the problem of nonvoting in America. Identify those people who typically do not vote. Examine the behavior of those who vote and those who do not.
Voters and Voter Behavior
Section 4: Voter Behavior
By the end of this lesson you will be able to:
Examine the problem of nonvoting in America.
Identify those people who typically do not vote.
Examine the behavior of those who vote and those who do not.
On Election day in 2008, there were an estimated 228 million persons of voting age in the U.S. Only about 131 million of them (60%) actually voted in the presidential election. Nearly 100 million persons who could have voted did not.
Why People Do Not Vote
Cannot-voters- For one reason or another, these people “cannot” vote.
*Aliens (10 million people)
*Sick or physically unable (5-6 million)
*Traveling suddenly (2-3 million)
*In mental heath facilities (500,000)
*In jail/prison (2 million)
*Religious beliefs do not allow them to vote (100,000)
In 2008, more than 80 million Americans who could have voted in the presidential election did not. There are many reasons why people choose not to vote.
*People feel like their vote will not make a difference
*People feel like no matter who wins an election, things will remain the same.
*People do not trust the government and do not wish to participate in the election process.
*Uninformed, do not know anything
about the candidates or issues.
*Inconvenient registration requirements
Numerous studies have been conducted comparing voters and nonvoters. Here are the results.
*High levels of education
*Higher income levels
*Well integrated into community life
*Long time/active residents
*May have strong sense of party identification
*Younger than age 35
*Live in the South or rural areas
*Men more than women
Most of what is known about voter behavior comes from three sources:
The results of elections- Voting is private and confidential, but researchers can study how cities, regions, and states voted as a whole.
Survey research- Phone surveys, internet surveys, etc.
Studies of political socialization- Political socialization is the process by which people gain their political attitudes and opinions.
Your family, friends, and the people around you also play a role in deciding how to vote. The following groups can influence what you believe in and how you think and act.
*Family- most people vote the way their family votes
*Friends- You choose your friends based on common interests
*Co-workers- You share a common bond with the people you work with.
These are the ways that the voter feels about politics: how they see and react to the parties, the candidates, and the issues in an election.
Party Identification (Party Loyalty)- Many Americans identify themselves with one of the two major parties early in life.
Straight Ticket Voting- People who are loyal to a major political party vote for that party on every issue and for every candidate.
Split-Ticket Voting- People who go back and forth between the two major parties while voting.
Independents- No party loyalty.
Candidates & Issues- The way a candidate presents him/herself and current issues also have an effect on the way people vote.