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Chapter 7- Voting and Participation – Learning Objectives. (1). Examine who votes and the effect of individual voting characteristics. (2). Describe socioeconomic , demographic and psychological effects on voter turnout .

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chapter 7 voting and participation learning objectives
Chapter 7- Voting and Participation – Learning Objectives
  • (1). Examine who votes and the effect of individual voting characteristics.
  • (2). Describe socioeconomic, demographic and psychologicaleffects on voter turnout.
  • (3). Discuss the effects of registration laws and campaign contacts.
  • (4). Outline key historical efforts of Americans to secure the right to vote, including: the 15th, 19th, & 26th Amendments, and the1965 Voting Rights Act.
  • (5). Define political efficacy, analyze the decline in voter turnout, and assess its impact.
  • (6). Examine who becomes a political activists, and describe the various types.
  • (7). Examine how voters make choices, the influence of party identification and candidate characteristics, and how voters choose based on the issues.
  • (8). Contrast retrospectiveandprospective issue voting, and the role of economics.
  • (9). Discuss how the relative influences and importance of party identification, candidate characteristics, and issueschange over time.
  • (10). Analyze the influence of social groups on voting behavior; examine the gender gap.
who votes the central activity of democracy
Who Votes:The central activity of Democracy
  • The Effect of Individual Voter Characteristics:
    • Determining voter turnout – who actually votes
      • Socioeconomiccharacteristics
        • Education
        • Income
        • Occupation
      • Demographic characteristics
        • Race, ethnicity, age, & gender
      • Psychological characteristics
        • Strength of Party Identification
        • Political efficacy
        • Group consciousness
        • Interest & trust in Government & Political awareness
  • So who’s more likely to vote?
what determines voter turnout
What Determines Voter Turnout

Actual voter turnout depends on:










  • Socioeconomic Status
  • Demographic Characteristics:
    • Race, Ethnicity, Age, Gender
  • Psychological Characteristics
key term review
Key Term Review

Family Income &




Occupational Status = ?

Socioeconomic Status


Education and Voting

Education is the most

important variable

in whether people vote

or Not.




  • Registration and voting laws also affect turnout by changing the costs of voting from state to state.
  • The more difficult and time consuming it is to vote, the less likely people are to do so.
the effect of registration laws
The Effect of Registration Laws
  • Impact on voter turnout => (compared in Fig. 7-1)
    • 2 Rules affecting otherindustrial democracies:
      • Automatic voter registration
      • Compulsory voting
  • Rules inhibiting voter turnout in US
    • Closing date(30 day deadline to register)
    • Region with most stringent registration laws?
      • Post-Civil War legacy: poll taxes&literacy test
      • 24th Amendment affect on above?
    • But old habits change slowly=>
      • Stricter registration rules evident in the South
registration and congressional action
Registration and Congressional Action
  • Congress eases rules nationally:
    • National Voter Registration Act of 1993
      • Also called?
      • “Motor Voter Law”
    • Impact? (+ 9%)
      • But … marginal effects do count => 2000
voting act of 1965 whites
Voting Act of 1965(whites)

Percentage of Southern

Whites registered

to vote in 1960.

voting act of 1965 african american
Voting Act of 1965(African-American)

Percentage of Southern

African-Americans registered

to vote in 1960.


Voting Act of 1965 (Impact)

  • Tests of literacy
  • Educational Attainment
  • Political Knowledge
  • Good moral character

Voting Rights Act of 1965 eliminated what kind of “requirements” for voter eligibility?




The Effect of Campaign Contacts on Voter Turnout:

  • Who is normally contacted & why?
  • Who does the contacting?
  • Registered Supporters by Party Activists (Figure 7-2)
  • Personal contact (“Do you need a ride to the polls?”)
  • Other Methods used to contact => mobilize supporters to vote:
    • Mass mail campaigns
    • Telephone banks (“Hello, this is Barbara Bush…”)

New voting trend in Northwest? => any potential effect?

two competing explanations for voter decline
Two competing explanations for Voter Decline
  • 1. Democratic Party shift to favor $$$ interest & its impact
    • Result: loss of labor voter support
  • 2. Changes in Voting laws:
    • Australian Ballot
    • Requirements to register in order to vote
    • 19th Amendment
    • Impact of above?
contemporary reasons for decline
Contemporary Reasons for Decline
  • Post-1960s analysis & debate:
    • Survey data indicated => measurable decline in:
      • Party ID, political efficacy, & newspaper readers
    • Decline in average age of eligible voters
      • (26th Amendment) => impact? (population pool?)
  • Also: decline in efforts to recruit campaign volunteers
    • Increased reliance on TV ads & direct mail campaigns
    • Door to door campaigning considered too old fashion?
      • Impact at the polls?(Recent election results?)
does weak voter turnout really matter impact of the rules
Does Weak Voter Turnout Really Matter? (Impact of the rules?)
  • Which Party benefits or losses?
  • Conventional wisdom?
    • Highsocioeconomicvoters’ turnout & preferences? vs.
      • Historical turnout & preferences of the poor?
    • Which party would benefit from which group?
      • Any exceptions to rule?
      • Role of cross cutting cleavages?
  • Impact of hypothetical turnout increase:
    • From 50-55% => 80-90%? (TBD)
political participation the activists
Political Participation – The Activists

What is a Political Activists?

An individual who engages in political activities that go beyond voting, such as attempting to persuade others, attending rallies, donating money, or working for a candidate or cause.

various ways to participate in politics
Various ways to participate in politics?

Participation in Politics:

  • Most likely way? Least?
becoming an activists
Becoming an Activists
  • Who Becomes an Activist – 3 major factors?
    • 1. Resources: time, $$$, & civic skills
    • 2. Psychological engagement:
      • Commitment to issue or group & sense of political efficacy
    • 3. Participating member of organization
      • (Opportunity to interact and hone debate skills)
  • Activist influence on political agenda? Why?
    • Activities: staff campaign, register voters, support election
    • Any correlations evident? Any exceptions?
      • Wealthy, older, educated, & involved w/political knowage
      • Exception: Poor students with strong sense of what?
how voters make choices
How Voters Make Choices

Three Major Factors


Voting Behavior?









The psychological feeling of belonging to a particular political party, which influences voting behavior

party identification
Party Identification
  • Psychological attachment to party =>
    • Influences political behavior of member- how to vote
  • Influence of Party ID on voting behavior?
    • See Text- Table 7-3: likely to vote for party candidate
  • Another key Role played by Party ID:
    • Perceptual screen? (Figure 7-5)
    • Influences voter’s positions on complex issues
    • Aid for deciding how to vote (how so?)
      • Guides voters with regard to which issue or candidate to support



The candidate's character, personality,

experiences, past record, and physical appearance.

How does candidate’s characteristics influence voters?

Both obvious & subtle prejudices & preferences


Issues: Factors Affecting How People Vote

Retrospective Issue Voting

Prospective Issue Voting

Hard Issues

Easy Issues





Deciding how to vote on the basis of past policy outcomes.

Issue Voting

What is Retrospective Issue Voting?




Deciding how to vote on the basis of a candidate's likely future policies.

the issues
The Issues
  • Issues – most important but least influential?
  • Retrospective issue voting?
    • Voting based on past record (“pocket book issues”)
    • Impact of sociotropic voters? (community vs. self)
  • Prospective issue voting?
    • 3 conditions required (1950’s study):
      • 1. issue awareness & an opinion on it
      • 2. knowledge of government’sactions
      • 3. see the different positions of the candidates
    • Recent Criteria (Seven-point scale – Figure 7-6)
      • Voter can place him/herself on the scale with regard to the issue
      • Voter can place both candidates on scale
      • Voter sees difference between candidates
      • Places Democratic party to left of GOP candidate
    • Results? Voter’s knowledge (51% or less- see Table 7-4))

Easy Issues

Issues that allow voters to make quick, emotional decisions without much information.

Hard Issues

Complex issues that require knowledge and understanding invested by the voter.

Easy vs. Hard Issues

What’s the difference?

easy issues vs hard issues criteria for selecting an issue
Easy issues vs. hard issuesCriteria for selecting an issue:
  • Candidate & Party/Interest Group’s conclusion when selecting a particular issue to support?
    • Complex issues are too hard for voters to understand
    • Therefore waste of campaign’s time and money
    • Result?
easy issues vs hard issues impact
Easy issues vs. hard issues- Impact
  • Impact on how candidate should choose issues during campaign?
    • Go easy w/bumper sticker for emotional appeal
  • Result: Easier to explain Candidate’s position- but…
    • Less solid info for voters to make their choice
      • And a less informed electorate
    • Heavy reliance on Party Identification for decision
changes over time
Changes Over Time
  • Factors affecting voter decisions change with the times:
    • Dramatic events:
      • War, recessions, or natural or manmade disasters
      • Results in more focus on the issues
  • Influence of candidates & news media issue priorities (what is debated):
    • In most cases set the political campaign agenda
    • Determinewhat issues are debated before voters
influences of social groups on voting
Influences of Social Groups on Voting
  • Social Group influence on voters’ choices in 2000 election:
    • See Text Table 7-5 for specific breakdown:
      • Family income & Education
      • Race/Ethnicity & Religion
      • Gender
        • Note growing gender gap
      • Married couples
      • Ideology
  • Group correlations & general conclusions?
    • Consistency with Political Knowledge profiles?
wednesday s assignment
Wednesday’s Assignment
  • Chapter 8: The News Media
    • Syllabus Learning Objectives #1-11
  • Luncheon Learn (Supreme Court)- 1240
  • Reminder: Research Paper topic
    • Preparation for Thesis formulation due by MTX
chapter 7 key terms
Chapter 7 KEY TERMS
  • Australian ballot: A government-printed ballot (as opposed to one distributed by political parties) that allows people to vote in secret.
  • Candidate characteristics: The candidate’s character, personality, experiences, past record, and physical appearance.
  • Closing date: The last day before the election when one can register in order to vote—usually described in number of days before Election Day.
  • Easy issues: Simple issues that allow voters to make quick, emotional decisions without much information.
  • Franchise: The right to vote.
  • Gender gap: The difference between men’s and women’s voting rates for either a Democratic or Republican candidate.
  • Group consciousness: Identification with one’s social group (for instance, black consciousness).
chapter 7 key terms 2
Chapter 7 KEY TERMS (2)
  • Hard issues: Complicated issues that require voters to have information about the policy and to spend time considering their choices.
  • Literacy test: A test of ability to read and write, used in the South to prevent people from voting.
  • Party identification: The psychological feeling of belonging to a particular political party, which influences voting behavior.
  • Poll tax: Before 1964, the tax that people paid in some states if they chose to vote.
  • Prospective issue voting: Deciding how to vote on the basis of a candidate’s likely policies.
  • Retrospective issue voting: Deciding how to vote on the basis of past policy outcomes.
  • Sociotropic voters: People who vote on the basis of their community’s economic interests, rather than their personal economic interests.
  • Voter turnout: The percentage of people who actually vote.