How American’s Vote: Explaining Citizens’ Decisions By Ha Mai, Donald White, Katelyn Escalante, Emily Sharp, Maddy Whitlock, Gabby Andrade, Blaize Condon, Oshada Silva
Citizens’ Decisions • Three Major Elements of Voter decisions: • Voters’ party identification • Voters’ evaluation of the candidates • Match between voters’ policy positions and those of the candidates and parties “policy voting” • Mandate Theory of elections – Idea that the winning candidate has a mandate from the people to carry out his or her platforms and politics. • Policy Voting – Electoral choices that are made on the basis of the voters’ policy preferences and on the basis of where the candidates stand on policy issues.
Party Identification • Crucial for many voters because they provide a regular perspective through which voters can view the political world. • Parties tend to rely on groups that lean heavily in their favor to form their basic coalition. • With the emergence of television and candidate-centered politics, the parties’ hold on voters eroded substantially during the 1960s and 1970s and then stabilized at a new and lower level. • Young people are particularly likely to be up for grabs and open to the possibility of voting for candidates who are neither Democratic nor Republican.
Candidate Evaluations: How Americans See The Candidates • All candidates try to present a favorable personal image. • Consultants need to know what sort of candidate qualities voters are most attuned to. • In 2000, a quality that helped George W. Bush greatly was that he was rated fairly positively on integrity.
Policy Voting • Four conditions for policy voting to take place • Voters must clearly understand their own positions on policy • Voters must know policies of candidates • Voters must see policy differences between candidates • Voters must actually vote for a candidate that aligns with their policies • Obstacles to policy voting • Many candidates purposely cloud position on controversial issues • Media focuses on “horse race” not positions of candidates • Policy voting today • In 1960’s a candidate could win an election through party bosses • Today candidates often take clear stances in order to gain support from issue-oriented people
Stolen From: • Government in America • (AP GOV BOOK) • GG