The Making of an Engaged Electorate? (view full screen)


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Second in continuing data driven analysis of the nature of change evident in 2008 voting patterns

The first presentation focused on analysis of the demographic shifts behind the Obama victory. This presentation analyzes exit polls to discover the issues that motivated this voting block to go to the polls.

The premise of the analysis: Comparing exit polling, to likely voter polling, increases accuracy in forecast of turnout and forecast of demographic shifts in the electorate.

The presentation suggests adoption of this method of analysis as a means of providing better measures of voter sentiment. These measures are useful in both enforcing accountability and encouraging participation.

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The Making of an Engaged Electorate? (view full screen)

  1. 1. <ul><li>Data Views of the 08 </li></ul><ul><li>Electorate II </li></ul><ul><li>2008: </li></ul><ul><li>The Making of an Engaged Electorate? </li></ul>content courtesy of data
  2. 2. <ul><li>Innovation in campaign finance? </li></ul><ul><li>Harbinger of sustained activism? </li></ul><ul><li>Mandate for Bottom-up agenda ? </li></ul><ul><li>Accountability driven turnout? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Charts based on Federal Elections Commission -
  4. 4. <ul><li>Innovation in campaign finance? </li></ul><ul><li>% Total dollars contributed by “small donors,” was not significantly different across the three major campaigns </li></ul><ul><li>Small donors gave 8%,6%, and %5 respectively of dollars to Obama, Clinton, and McCain </li></ul><ul><li>Dollars from large donors account for the bulk of funds for each candidate; 60%, 62%, and 65% for Obama, Clinton, and McCain respectively </li></ul><ul><li>Real dollars to presidential campaigns are still largely given by corporate or corporately employed large donors </li></ul><ul><li>The distribution of giving to the Obama campaign does reflect a shift toward giving by smaller donors. This shift is not “dramatic” by percent of dollars given. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Charts based on Federal Elections Commission -
  6. 6. <ul><li>Platform for sustained activism? </li></ul><ul><li>The significance of small donors is in number, not dollars </li></ul><ul><li>Small donors are 36% of Obama campaign donors; 14 percentage points higher than any other donor group. </li></ul><ul><li>The Obama strategy produced a bleed over effect, increasing small donor giving for all candidates. </li></ul><ul><li>Small donors are 31% of Clinton campaign donors. Roughly equal to the percent of large donors </li></ul><ul><li>Small donors; 27% of McCain campaign, lagging behind large donors, who, at 29%, outnumber all other givers to McCain. </li></ul><ul><li>Obama campaign strategy and execution successfully attracted new small donors </li></ul><ul><li>The significance of this new giving block is in its number, not in dollars given. Important from an organizing, perspective, not as important as a source of funds. </li></ul><ul><li>58% of Obama donors gave $1000 or less, while 60% of actual dollars were given by donors giving more than $2300. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Charts based on Federal Elections Commission -
  8. 8. <ul><li>Bottom-up agenda setting? </li></ul><ul><li>Voters earning $50 – 75,000 make up the largest block of McCain voters (22 %). </li></ul><ul><li>Voters earning $30 – 50,000 make up the largest block of Obama voters (20 %). </li></ul><ul><li>General trend: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Obama voting block has much greater representation of low and working wage voters. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Candidates evenly split the middle class and affluent vote </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Income Distribution is the percent of total voters by earnings that making up the total vote for each candidate. </li></ul><ul><li>It is a snap shot comparing the relative wealth of a candidate’s voting block </li></ul><ul><li>Working class voters are responsible for the Obama victory margin. Voters with incomes above $50K split evenly </li></ul>
  9. 9. Charts based on Federal Elections Commission -
  10. 10. <ul><li>Bottom-up agenda setting? </li></ul><ul><li>The economy was the dominant issue for a majority (60%) of Obama voters in 2008 </li></ul><ul><li>Health care was next as top of mind reason voters selected Obama. </li></ul><ul><li>Followed by Iraq, Energy Policy, and, Terrorism, a distant fifth place </li></ul><ul><li>The Health Care – Energy (domestic issue) voters are roughly double the number of Iraq – Terrorism (foreign policy) voters </li></ul><ul><li>The graph is an illustration </li></ul><ul><li>of the percent of voters </li></ul><ul><li>voting for Obama selecting a particular issue as the reason for their vote </li></ul><ul><li>The inset illustrates the dominance of economy as an issue. However the economy is a “situation” vote. </li></ul><ul><li>Issues votes are a better indication of the degree to which voters support a particular candidate based on stated policy positions. </li></ul>
  11. 11. Charts based on data from Federal Elections Commission -
  12. 12. <ul><li>Bottom-up agenda setting? </li></ul><ul><li>A strong majority, 65%, of 2008 voters worried about the state of health care </li></ul><ul><li>Over 60% of Obama voters were “very worried” about health care. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Turnout for this group of voters increased 10% </li></ul></ul><ul><li>55% of McCain voters were “not at all worried” about health care. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Turnout for this group of voters decreased by 2% </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The graphs Illustrate the </li></ul><ul><li>degree to which </li></ul><ul><li>candidate voting blocks, </li></ul><ul><li>and, the electorate in general, are worried about the health care as an election issue. </li></ul><ul><li>If turnout in future elections depends on the degree to which policy priorities reflect the priorities of the electorate, health care reform will be a key factor in any decline or increase in turnout. </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Data Views of the 08 Electorate </li></ul><ul><li>Engaged Electorate? </li></ul>content courtesy of data from national exit polls <ul><li>Bottom Up Platform for Change? </li></ul><ul><li>Is sustained electorate engagement a function of the degree to which the political agenda addresses the desires of voters? </li></ul><ul><li>The voting block that delivered victory for the Obama campaign is working class, ethnically diverse, young, and turned out in record numbers </li></ul><ul><li>This winning coalition identified Economy (jobs), Health Care and Energy as the top three reasons for voting for their candidate </li></ul><ul><li>To what extent will future turnout of this group depend on adoption-execution of an agenda that reflects the priorities that led this group to organize and get out to vote in 2008? </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>footnote : </li></ul><ul><li>National and local exit poll data are used to create the graphs in this presentation. </li></ul><ul><li>One purpose of the analysis is to track the degree to which expectations of actual voters (exit polls) predict turnout and outcomes in future elections vs. predictions based on opinions of likely voters (surveys ). </li></ul><ul><li>related research: </li></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> </li></ul></ul>