11 - Voting Elections

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Chapter 11:

Chapter 11 Voting, Campaigns, Elections



Logic of Elections:

Logic of Elections Representative democracy Delegation leads to agency loss One solution: regular, competitive elections Do not guarantee faithful representation

Right to Vote:

Right to Vote Early limits White men Women African-Americans Youth

Turnout (Logic):

Turnout (Logic) Millions do not vote Makes sense to demand the right to vote But rational to not use it Amazingly, many DO use the right to vote

Turnout (Determinants):

Turnout (Determinants) Factors that influence: Demographics Internal/external efficacy Strong partisanship Living in competitive areas Low barriers to registration and voting Usually NO influence: Gender Cynicism, trust in government

Turnout (Variations):

Turnout (Variations) Decline in voter turnout Despite easier voter registration and better education Other factors: Suffrage for 18-20 year olds Lessening of community roots Lessening of political efficacy Lessening of partisan attachments

Turnout (Variations):

Turnout (Variations) Major reasons for decline: Decline in efforts to mobilize voters Highest impact: poorest and least educated If nonvoters voted, would outcome change? Research says no Preferences of voters and nonvoters are not very different

How Do Voters Decide?:

How Do Voters Decide? Get information to reduce uncertainty Use cues as cognitive shortcuts Free information Assess and utilize: Past performance and incumbency Issues and policy options Voter cues and shortcuts Party identification

Election Campaigns:

Election Campaigns Common features throughout competitive campaigns: Candidate Message Way to inform voters about both Role of public image

Election Campaigns:

Election Campaigns Media scrutiny Importance of debates Frontrunners: Generally more harm than good Challengers: Be seen on equal footing Negative campaigning Simplicity, repetition, exaggeration, symbolism

Campaign Money:

Campaign Money Without money, voters don’t hear the message Elections are costly Funded by private funds Regulating campaign money Two problems: Political equality but unequal distribution of money Suspicion that elected officials will serve contributors rather than voters

Regulating Money:

Regulating Money Federal Election Campaign Act (1971) Partial public funding of presidential campaigns Buckley v. Valeo (1976) Federal Election Campaign Act (1979) “Soft” money Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act (2002) Eliminated soft money for federal campaigns

Regulating Money:

Regulating Money Two finance systems: one regulated and one not 527s Flow of campaign money has outpaced inflation Increases in supply and demand Campaigns tap four sources: Individuals PACs Own money Party organizations

Campaign Spending:

Campaign Spending Money is used to reach voters Advertising Little spending on traditional campaigning Attempt to generate favorable news coverage 25% spent on overhead Incumbents vs. non-incumbents Spending at the margins?

Presidential Spending:

Presidential Spending Electoral College strategy Need 270 electoral votes Concentrate on large battleground states Ex: Florida in 2000, Ohio in 2004 Ignore states that are locked up by either side

Money and Politics:

Money and Politics Do contributors get special benefits? Access Little evidence of policy favoritism Suggested reforms Spending ceilings Limiting donations and eliminating PACs Public funding

Money and Politics:

Money and Politics Problems with reforms No consensus on best reform Ultimate barrier: 1 st Amendment Saving grace: campaign finance system is pluralistic

Logic Revisited:

Logic Revisited Despite problems, elections work well Citizens pick and fire agents Incentives to inform and mobilize voters Reduction of information gathering costs Candidates and parties work to: Offer competing frames for the voting decision Clarify and focus electoral choice such that ignorant voters can manage it


Next Time Quiz 3 by 11:59 PM ET, Monday June 22nd Chapter 12: Political Parties

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