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Chapter 10b
 

Chapter 10b

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  • Lecture Outline How American Elections Work Some unique American electoral features. Unlike most other democracies, the United States has three kinds of elections: those which select party nominees, those which select officeholders from among the nominees, and those in which voters engage in making or ratifying legislation. Elections held for the purpose of picking party nominees are called primaries . The initiative petition enables voters in 23 states to place proposed legislation on the ballot if they gather the required number of signatures on a petition (usually a number equaling 10 percent of the voters in the previous election). The referendum is a form of direct legislation in which voters are given the chance to approve or disapprove some legislative act (such as school bonds) or constitutional amendment.
  • Lecture Outline Elections have changed dramatically since 1800 when Adams ran against Jefferson. By 1896, it was acceptable for candidates to campaign in person, as William Jennings Bryan did. Today, campaigns are slick, high-tech affairs.
  • Lecture Outline Elections have changed dramatically since 1800 when Adams ran against Jefferson. By 1896, it was acceptable for candidates to campaign in person, as William Jennings Bryan did. Today, campaigns are slick, high-tech affairs.
  • Lecture Outline Elections have changed dramatically since 1800 when Adams ran against Jefferson. By 1896, it was acceptable for candidates to campaign in person, as William Jennings Bryan did. Today, campaigns are slick, high-tech affairs.
  • Figure 10.1 The Electoral College Results for 2004 and 2008
  • Lecture Outline Whether to Vote: A Citizen’s First Choice Nearly two centuries of American electoral history include greatly expanded suffrage (the right to vote). As the right to vote has been extended, proportionately fewer of those eligible have chosen to exercise that right. The highest turnout of the past 100 years was the 80 percent turnout in 1896; in 2004, 55 percent of the adult population voted for president.
  • Lecture Outline Who Votes? Voting is a class-biased activity. People with higher than average education and income levels have a higher rate of voting. This is the most important factor affecting turnout. Young people have the lowest turnout rate. Whites vote with greater frequency than members of minority groups (but Blacks and other minority groups with high levels of income and education have a higher turnout rate than Whites with comparable socioeconomic status).
  • Table 10.1 Reported Turnout Rates for Groups of U.S. Citizens in 2008
  • Lecture Outline How Americans Vote: Explaining Citizens’ Decisions Many journalists and politicians believe the winner of an election has a mandate from the people to carry out the policies he or she promised during the campaign.
  • Table 10.2 Changing Patterns in Voting Behavior: 1960 and 2008 Compared
  • Lecture Outline Candidate Evaluations: How Americans See the Candidates Political psychologists Shawn Rosenberg and Patrick McCafferty show that it is possible to manipulate a candidate’s appearance in a way that affects voters’ choices (even by substituting a good picture for a bad one). Research by Miller, Wattenberg, and Malanchuk shows that the three most important components of candidate image are integrity, reliability, and competence. In 2000, George W. Bush scored higher than Al Gore in the dimension of integrity. Integrity is not enough; a candidate must also be seen as being reliable , i.e., dependable and decisive. George H. W. Bush’s image of reliability suffered when he broke his “no new taxes” pledge prior to the 1992 campaign. The personal traits most often mentioned by voters involve competence , i.e., experience, which is one of the reasons it is hard to beat an incumbent president.

Chapter 10b Chapter 10b Presentation Transcript

  • 1 10 Election & Voting Behavior
  • 2 How American Elections Work  Three Kinds of Elections  Primary elections – Voters select party nominees.  General elections – Between the nominees of the parties.  Specific elections– Specific referendum questions
  • 3 A Tale of Three Elections  1800: The First Transition of Power  No primaries, conventions, or speeches.  Campaigns focused not on voters but on state legislatures who chose electors.  After many votes in the House, the presidency was transferred to Jefferson peacefully.
  • 4 A Tale of Three Elections  1896: A Bitter Fight Over Economic Interests  Democrats’ main issue was unlimited coinage of silver.  Bryan won the Democratic Party nomination with speeches about the virtues of silver.  McKinley won the election and the Republicans regained majority status.
  • 5 A Tale of Three Elections  2008: An Election About Change  Obama’s main issue was changing the health care system to extend coverage to everyone.  McCain’s main issue was making changes to improve the economy and the financial institutions.  Obama won and became the 1st African-American president.
  • 6Copyright © 2011 Pearson Education, Inc. Publishing as Longman
  • 7 Whether to Vote: A Citizen’s First Choice  Suffrage  The legal right to vote, in the United States gradually extended to virtually all citizens over the age of 18.  15th Amendment—African-Americans the right to vote  19th Amendment – Women granted the right to vote  26th Amendment – Voting age lowered to 18
  • 8 Whether to Vote: A Citizen’s First Choice  Who Votes?  Education – People with a higher than average education vote more than people with less education.  Age – Older people vote more than younger people.  Race – Racial minorities are usually underrepresented among voters relative to their share of the citizenry.  Gender – Women participate in elections more than men do.  Marital status – Married people vote more than unmarried people.  Government employment – Workers for the government vote more than people who have jobs in the in private sector.
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  • 10 How Americans Vote: Explaining Citizens’ Decisions  Mandate Theory of Elections  The idea that the winning candidate has a mandate from the people to carry out his or her platforms and politics.  Party Identification  People still generally vote for a party that they agree with.  Many floating voters make an individual voting decision and are up for grabs each election.
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  • 12 How Americans Vote: Explaining Citizens’ Decisions  Candidate Evaluations: How Americans See the Candidates  Three most important dimensions of candidate image are; integrity Reliability competence.
  • 13 The Electoral College Watch the short video that explains the Electoral College by clicking on the link below and then typing in "Class Pet Upset". http://fraboom.com/tv/free/ 
  • 14 The Electoral College • The President is NOT elected by a popular vote • Instead, each state has a certain number of electorates • Based upon the number of people they have in Congress (Wisconsin = 2 Senators + 8 House = 10) • Which ever candidate receives the most votes in a state wins ALL of that state's electoral votes • It's a winner-take-all system
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  • 17 The Electoral College • The electors meet in December and cast their votes • Who ever receives a majority of electoral votes wins • Need 270 out of 538  • If no candidate receives a majority then the House of Representatives decides • Each state has ONE vote • Problems of the Electoral College • Less populated states are over-represented • Winner-take-all means that candidates only focus on battleground states
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  • 19 2012 Battleground States October 20, 2012 19
  • 20 Democracy & Elections  Art of ambiguity  "Candidates are skilled at appearing to say much while saying little"  Retrospective voting  Voters vote for a candidate because they directly benefit from the candidate's policies