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PS 101 Elections (Steinbeiss)
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PS 101 Elections (Steinbeiss)

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  • 1. Voting and Elections Chapter 13
  • 2. Learning Objectives 1. Why do people vote? 2. How do people chose who to vote for? 3. Who votes? Who doesn’t vote? 4. Why is voting important?
  • 3. Why bother voting? • Costs of voting outweigh the benefits – Taking off work, driving to the polling place, waiting in line, etc. – One vote will not sway an election
  • 4. Why did you vote?
  • 5. Intrinsic Value
  • 6. How do people choose who to vote for? • Issue voting – Retrospective – prospective • Party identification • Candidate image
  • 7. Issue Voting • Retrospective – Voting based on how candidates have performed in the past • Prospective – Voting based on promises made by candidates
  • 8. Party identification
  • 9. Candidate image
  • 10. Who can vote? • Four amendments have greatly broadened the scope of the electorate – 15th amendment: gave african american men the right to vote – 19th amendment: gave women the right to vote – 24th amendment: Outlawed Poll Taxes – 26th amendment: Gave 18-year-olds the right to vote
  • 11. Who actually does vote? • Very low voter turnout – 57% of eligible voters turned out to the polls in the presidential election of 2012
  • 12. Higher income
  • 13. Youth
  • 14. Unemployed
  • 15. Latinos
  • 16. Formal education
  • 17. What might explain these differences in turnout?
  • 18. Why aren’t people voting? • Apathy • efficacy • Voter intimidation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOp0lpXtqN4
  • 19. Why Is voting important? • Two party elections can lead to democracy – Responsible party government – Electoral competition
  • 20. Model #1: Responsible Party Government • Elections provide a real choice or alternative to voters
  • 21. Assumptions of Responsible party Government • Each Party is cohesive and unified • Each Party takes a clear policy position that differentiates the two • Citizens accurately perceive these policy positions • Winning party will follow through on their promises
  • 22. Problems with Responsible Party Government • Doesn’t guarantee popular sovereignty or political equality • Doesn’t guarantee winning party will take popular policy positions • Parties are NOT actually unified or cohesive • Voters do not actually vote solely on issue positions • Parties don’t always keep their promises
  • 23. Model #2: Electoral competition • Both parties compete for votes by taking the most popular positions they can
  • 24. Assumptions of electoral competition • parties take clear, unified stands on issues • Citizens vote based on issues • Willing party will do what they promised
  • 25. Problems with electoral competition • Both parties like to support the same policies that are most favored by voters • Parties tend to take stands near the midpoint of public opinion • Doesn’t promise the parties will educate or mobilize voters
  • 26. Which model better represents Elections in the U.S.?
  • 27. Takeaway point… • Are we doomed? Does this low voter turnout inhibit democracy? • Or does it simply mean Americans are content with the current situation and are placing their faith in democracy?