Chapter 8
Political Participation
and Voting
Forms of Political Participation
Forms of Political Participation
Forms of Political Participation
Traditional political participation: various activities
designed to influence government.
– Voting, protest, campaign contributions, contact elected
officials (many more)
Online participation: interactive political engagement
facilitated by vast opportunities to connect to causes,
people, events, and information online.
Traditional Political Participation
Forms of Political Participation
Online participation linkage to offline activity
1. Information
2. Accidental mobilization
3. Format advantages
– Images, interaction, and unlimited space
4. Diversity of sources and voices
5. Lowers entry barriers
6. Citizen journalism: blogs, video, social media
Online Political Participation
Political Participation
Forms of Political Participation
Examples scale, potential online participation
–
Obama 2008 online campaign model
• 3 million small contributions online (unprecedented)
• 1st ever on FB, Twitter, “Contribute Now” button
• Events and activities organized online
– SOPA and PIPA protests
• Largest websites (Wiki, FB, Google, et al) oppose
• Website blackouts or limited services mobilized millions
to call Congress in opposition – it worked.
– Digital divide (online inequalities) remain, though
Voting
Voting
Suffrage extended to different groups at different points
in American history. Initially only wealthy, white, male,
>21 years old
– Wealth limitation eliminated early 1800s
– 15th Amendment enfranchises black men (1870)
– 19th Amendment enfranchises women (1920)
– 24th Amendment ends poll taxes (1964)
– 26th Amendment lowers age to 18 (1971)
Voting
• Right to vote: all American citizens >18 yrs. old
– 10 states (as of 2012) lifetime ban convicted felons
• Turnout relatively low today
– Other democracies and points in American history
– 60 percent national average presidential elections
– 33 percent national average off-year national races
• Significant state and regional differences
Voter Registration Rates by Social Group, 2008
Voting
Voting
Voter turnout in democratic nations 1945–2008
Voting
Voter turnout by race and ethnicity 1976–2008
Voting
Voter turnout by educational attainment 1976–2008
Voting
Voter turnout by age cohort 1976–2008
Voting
Voter turnout by employment status 1976–2008
WHO ARE AMERICANS?
Who Made Up the Electorate in 2012?
CHAPTER 8
WHO ARE AMERICANS?
Who Made Up the Electorate in 2012?
19%
18–29
53%
Women
27%
72%
30–44
White
Asian 3%
Other 2%
47%
Men
38%
45–64
Black 13%
Hispanic 10%
16%
65+
GENDER
RACE
SOURCE: Data are based on exit polls available at http://www.elections.nytimes.com/2012/results/president/exit-polls (accessed 11/12/12).
AGE
WHO ARE AMERICANS?
Who Made Up the Electorate in 2012?
20%
53%
No college
degree
38%
Democrat
< $30,000
22%
$30,000–
49,000
38%
29%
Republican
59%
College
graduate
> $50,000
29%
18%
Independent
Postgraduate
EDUCATION
PARTY
SOURCE: Data are based on exit polls available at http://www.elections.nytimes.com/2012/results/president/exit-polls (accessed 11/12/12).
ANNUAL
INCOME
Voting
Why do people vote?
• Individual preferences and traits
– Partisanship, ideology, religion, sex, income, etc.
•
Political environment
– Campaigns, issues, mobilization, party competition
•
State policies
– Registration deadlines and methods, identification, ballot
types (paper, mail only, etc.)
Voting
• Political mobilization
– Process by which large numbers of people are organized
for a political activity
– Online and/or in-person mobilization activities include ads,
calls, e-mails, campaign events, fundraising, and others.
• Not all people are mobilized equally.
– Turnout disparities reflect mobilization differences.
– Other factors, but mobilization an important one
Online Political Participation
Voting
Individual traits and preferences
• Demographic indicators
– Education, income, sex, race/ethnicity, age
– Education: highest impact because influences so many
other factors correlated with voter turnout information,
efficacy, and, of course, income
• Preferences and attitudes
– Party attachment, ideology, issue positions
• Makes sense: people with well-formed opinions vote
Voting
Political environment
• Context can attract voters to the polls
– Candidates, pressing issues
– Mobilization strategies and investment
– Party competition (or lack thereof)
• Consistently competitive or noncompetitive
– Voters, candidates, parties and contributors ALL
take party competition into account.
Voting
State policies
• All states implement voting and election laws
differently. Some make it easier than others.
–
–
–
–
–
–
Registration deadlines prior to election day
Length of residency at current address
Identification requirements
Early and absentee voting rules
Variable vote locations
Ballot method: mail only, paper ballot, kiosk, etc.
American Voters
Why is turnout different across groups?
Turnout =
state rules + political context + individual traits
• Variation in all three variables explains voter turnout
trends.
American Voters
Latinos: largest minority in United States (16 percent
as of 2010)
• Established political ties with both parties
– Cuban Americans with GOP; Puerto Rican and Mexican
American with Democrats
• Population geographic concentrations
– Parties competitive: FL, NV, NM, CO
– Parties noncompetitive states: TX, CA, NY, CT
• Low turnout factors: income, education, state laws,
party competition, low mobilization
American Voters
African Americans: (13 percent of U.S. as of 2010)
• Strong ties to Democratic Party since 1960s
– Voting rights, desegregation, civil rights agenda
• Turnout in context
–
–
–
–
Laws kept black turnout low for over a century.
Voting Rights Act (1965), turnout rates soar.
Today, turnout more than Latinos, less than whites
Low turnout factors: income, education, state laws, low
mobilization by both parties
American Voters
Asian Americans: (5 percent of U.S. as of 2010)
• Party ties not strong, lean Democrat
• Geographic concentration:
– Hawaii, California, Texas, New York, New Jersey
• Turnout in context
– Lowest turnout rate of groups we can estimate
– Factors: in-group diversity and geographic diffusion make
group cohesiveness difficult, low mobilization,
noncompetitive states
Asian Americans
Gender and Participation
Gender and Participation
Percent Women in Elected Office
American Voters
Gender and turnout differences
• Since 1984, women’s turnout higher than men
• Men vote GOP at a higher rate.
• Women vote Democrat at a higher rate.
• Policy priorities and issue positions often differ.
• Parties make direct mobilization appeals to women
voters; indirect to men.
– Ads, messaging, agenda issues
Age and Participation
American Voters
Age and turnout differences
• Long-standing trend: older voters highest turnout
rate; youngest voters, lowest
– People become voters over their lifetime.
• Nonvoters at 20, probably voting by 65
– Partisanship and issue positions stronger with age
– Familiarity with registration process differs
– Low turnout factors: information, experience, residential
mobility, efficacy, income
American Voters
Religiosity and Turnout Differences
• People who attend religious services turn out at
higher rates than those who do not.
– Makes sense: people participating in one community
activity, likely take part in another.
– Religious institutions’ mobilization around issues and
ideology; not only to benefit of GOP.
– Many candidates make direct overtures to voters targeting
their religious identity.
Public Opinion Poll
Several countries (that are democracies) have
compulsory voting policies that require all citizens
to vote, and fine those who do not. Should the
United States adopt such a policy to increase voter
participation in American elections?
a) Yes
b) No
Public Opinion Poll
Which form of (individual) political participation do
you think has the most influence on elected officials
and candidates?
a) Voting
b) Campaign contributions
c) Contacting them to express concerns (e-mail, calls,
visits to their offices, etc.)
d) Some other activity
Public Opinion Poll
Do you think laws, policies, and the way
government operates in general would be different
if everyone eligible to vote actually did?
a) Yes
b) No
Public Opinion Poll
State rules governing the voting process—
deadlines, early/absentee options, ballot method—
vary widely. Should all states have the same rules
on these aspects to voting and elections?
a) Yes
b) No
Public Opinion Poll
Do you think more people would vote if there were
more convenient options, like weekend or online
(secured website) voting?
a) Yes
b) No
Chapter 8: Political Participation and Voting
• Quizzes
• Flashcards
• Outlines
• Exercises
wwnorton.com/we-the-people
Following this slide, you will find additional images,
figures, and tables from the textbook.
Digital Media and the New Political Engagement
Voting Rights
Political Environment
Political Environment
Age and Participation
Age and Participation
Age and Participation
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