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POLI-D-537 Parties and Government in the U.S. 5 ects

POLI-D-537 Parties and Government in the U.S. 5 ects. Emilie van Haute. Week 11. Part II Political Campaigns & Elections in the U.S. Outline I.1. Presidential Elections I.2. Case studies I.3. Congressional Elections I.4. Participation & Voting Behavior I.5. Campaign & Interest Groups

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POLI-D-537 Parties and Government in the U.S. 5 ects

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  1. POLI-D-537 Parties and Government in the U.S. 5 ects Emilie van Haute Week 11

  2. Part IIPolitical Campaigns & Elections in the U.S. Outline I.1. Presidential Elections I.2. Case studies I.3. Congressional Elections I.4. Participation & Voting Behavior I.5. Campaign & Interest Groups I.4. Participation & Voting Behavior 1. Voter Turnout 2. Party Identification 3. Parties, Citizens, and Issues 4. Social and Economic Bases of Partisanship and Voting

  3. 1. Voter Turnout (1) • Variations in turnout • Timing of the election & office contested: PE > GE > Mid-Term • State: lower turnout S – SW: political (interparty competition, campaign spending) & socio-demographics (+ income, + SES, + education, middle age, + white, + Catholic/Jewish heritage, + turnout), technical (registration requirements) • Rise of Ineligible voters (2% in 1972; 10% in 2000): non citizens + convicted • Who Votes? • Demographic characteristics: impact of age & education (more interested, better addressed), race, gender, income (link with other factors) • Attitudes: interest in politics, sense of civic duty, party identification, sense of political efficacy • Parties & Turnout • Profile of voters favors Rs >< Ds use get-out-to-vote (GOTV) campaigns more • Methods used to mobilize voters • Provide labels for candidates (PE, GE, Governors) • Provide money for campaigning to give voters information about candidates (threshold) • Explicit GOTV campaigns (registering, early vote, reminders, transport)

  4. 1. Voter Turnout (2) • Debate on turnout • Low turnout = weak democracy? • Measure of turnout (USA: Voting-age population – VAP) • Number of elections • No distortion of the citizen’s will: nonvoters well represented by voters or • Inequalities and impact on public policies; legitimacy

  5. 2. Party identification • Measure of party identification • = Feeling of attachment & sympathy for a party, acquired early through family, stable over time • Scale: 3 (identification) or 7 points (strength) • WWII – today: 65-75% with PI • Characteristics of Party Identifiers • + knowledge of politics, + interest, + activity • Political filter: selection of information/political news, of discussions, of credibility • + PI, + turnout & + loyalty to the party • Evolution of Party Identification • Declining impact on vote choice • Shifts in party identification • ↑ Split-ticket voting

  6. 3. Parties, Citizens, and Issues • Candidate Image • High media coverage of candidates: personalities, style, background, physical appearance, trustworthiness, etc. • Dependent on the level of election (lower level: lesser impact) • Impact of Issues • Dependent on candidates and context: • Voters must be informed & concerned about the issue • Candidates must be distinguishable on the issue • Voters must perceive the relation between their own position & the candidates’ • Generally: voters project their own position on their favorite candidate’s, or adopt their candidate’s position, or have no opinion • Issue voting when threat (international, eco) • Retrospective voting • = Evaluation of past performance (when incumbent running) • Issue ownership • = Parties’ reputation in specific issue areas (Ds: social welfare &security, education; Rs: foreign policy, taxes, crime) • When one issue dominate the agenda: voters vote for the party owning the issue • Parties try to shift voters’ attention to issues they own

  7. 4. Social and Economic Bases of Partisanship & Voting (1) • Economic & Class Differences • + income, education & occupational status, + R >< Ds: very upper & lower levels • But parties attract significant proportion of voters in each category (no “classe gardée”, and ↓ in class-based differences between parties since 1950s except in the South • => No real class cleavage (Lipset, 1977: values of individualism & freedom & equal opportunity; no historical social stratification; mobility; diversity; institutions) • Religious Differences • Since New Deal: Jews & Catholics // Ds; Protestants // Rs, although decline • Today: divide about the importance of religion in one’s life (Church attendance more than belief): + attendance, + Rs • Link with class, but not only: minority status // Ds • Gender Differences • 1920: right to vote for women but no major change in balance of power • Since 1980s: emergence of a gender gap: Rs // men (especially in the South); Ds // women • Link with social status (single parents)

  8. 4. Social and Economic Bases of Partisanship & Voting (2) • Regional Differences • Major impact of civil right issue • Major impact of economic development & in-migration • Distinctive regions: South (Bible belt), Plains (farm belt) & Moutain states, East Coast & West Coast • Racial Differences • Civil War amendments (14th & 15th) but Ds in the South circumvented • Realignment: from Rs to Ds (New Deal, civil rights); Voting Right Act (1965) • Latin American Voters: tendency to be Ds but depend on origin (Mexicans ≠ Cubans); fast growing population, especially South West; low level of participation; party identification unsettled => will be crucial • Socio-demographics of Parties • Significant changes since the 1950s in the party identifiers

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