This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Voting Behavior What Determines Vote Choice?

1386 words - 6 pages

Many political science researchers study the forces that drive the vote. One of the earliest, and most well known, books about election studies is The American Voter. Written in 1960, the book tries to explain a model that describes what drives Americans to vote the way they do. The model suggests that social factors determine ones party identification, which determines one's issue positions and evaluation of candidate's characteristics. These forces all work together to determine how one will vote. This model may or may not still hold true today, as political researchers are not in agreement as to what exactly drives the vote. One thing that does remain true, however, is that factors such as social groups, party identification, issues, and retrospective evaluations all play some part in determining the vote.

Although issues play a role in determining vote choice, social forces and retrospective evaluations are the most important factors the American public takes into consideration when deciding who to vote for. Fewer Americans identify with a political party today- in 1992 about 39% of the American public considered themselves as Independents. Before the 1982 election only 35% reported that they were Independents. This suggests that party identification is on the decline despite the American Voter finding that most everyone had a party identification and that their identification did not change much over their lifetime. (Abramson, Aldrich, Rohde, 225)

Many people change their opinion about an issue over time, and only feel strongly about a few issues. Because Americans lack the knowledge of politician's positions on issues, and lack opinions of their own for the most part, they rely on other factors when determining who to vote for. Many Americans look to see which candidate their social groups are backing or evaluate the performance of the incumbent or the national economy. No one really knows what drives the vote, and we probably never will. It does seem, however, that retrospective evaluations do have a much more significant impact than they were once thought to.

It has been found that issues do not play a significant role in voter choice. The American Voter authors found that the public is often not well informed about public policy and may not be able to vote on the issues alone. They also found that for voters to decide who to vote for based on issues three conditions must first be met. The first is that the voters must hold an opinion on the issue. They must also see what action the government is taking on the issue, and finally they must be able to see a difference in issue positions between the two parties. It is highly unlikely that a majority of the American public is able to meet all three requirements. Another reason why Americans are unable to make decisions based on issues is that they lack the knowledge and sophistication such a decision requires. Most of those people who do vote on issues know the candidates...

Find Another Essay On Voting Behavior - What Determines Vote Choice?

Why Australia should be governed under a non-compulsory voting system debate

892 words - 4 pages voters. The affirmative team believes voting is about choice so let us choose whether we vote or not.Ladies and Gentlemen: Compulsory voting is anti-democratic because it forces the people of Australia to do something, which they may or may not be inclined to do if it was not compulsory. Why should people who are not interested in politics and who do not care who the leader of the country is have to vote? Some people may vote for the party who is in

How to vote in USA Essay

3254 words - 13 pages have registered democrat, republican or other. Choose the person that is right for the job, think of yourself as the boss hiring an employee.Step4This is the part that is tricky, the electoral college determines who their vote is for. How does the Electoral College Elects the President?When you vote for a presidential candidate you are really voting to instruct the electors from your state to cast their votes for the same candidate. For example, if

Voter Turnout

1603 words - 6 pages ." (Rosenstone, 1993, pp. 135-36). Table 1 below clearly affirms that college educated voters are least likely to not vote. Not Table 1 - Level of Education Total Final Voting Choice Not H.S. Graduate H.S. Graduate Some College College Degree Admitted not voting 47.3 34.9 23.2 13.3 417 Bill Clinton 42.4 36.0 39.0 41.1 599 Ross Perot 2.0 6.1 7.7 3.9 82 Bob Dole 8.4 22.9 30.1 41.6 433 Total 100% of 203 100% of 475 100% of

Voter Behavior

876 words - 4 pages candidates, time, effort, and even money prevent many from the desire of voting. But some people, even if it is much more costly to them than it is beneficial, vote no matter what because they consider it a duty, but there are not many of these people compared to the others. Therefore, because of these things, Bianco states that not voting is a rational choice that voters can make. Bianco writes throughout his essay that voters are "Rational Actors

Voting Behavior in the United Kingdom

1528 words - 6 pages Voting Behavior in the United Kingdom When voting, people are usually going to vote for their own personal well-being. Although voters may agree that there should be improved services for everyone, when it comes to voting, it is likely they will vote for what is best for them personally I.e. lower tax. This is known as issue voting. E.g. whether a candidate will support a ban on fox hunting. It is agreed that issues do

The Voting Rights Act of 1965

2458 words - 10 pages were treated during that period. They couldn't vote or register to vote, and also they couldn't participate in issues associated with government. But then after the Selma March by Reverend Martin Luther King, the National Government was attentive on the disfranchisement of Southern blacks. This March led to the passage of the Voting Rights Acts of 1965. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed by U.S. Congress and signed by President Lyndon

Should Compulsory Voting be Made Compulsory to Encourage Political Participation?

1753 words - 8 pages choose to vote. However if voting is mandatory all people of all minorities are voting creating a more equal election where everyone is heard, therefore compulsory voting could be considered very democratic in the fact that it ensures that everyone is included in the voting process and everyone is recognized and heard, including the minority groups, therefore giving governments a more representative idea of what its citizens want. People also

Make Your VOTE Count

877 words - 4 pages voting rights of 1965 ruled out many discriminatory acts that used to restrain the voting rights of African American. The conditions for the minority group of citizens have changed than what they were fifty years ago. The right to vote symbolizes the power of American democracy, however to get people out to vote is not an easy task. Further, we will discuss about why we should vote, and what the importance of voting are. Our vote is our voice and to

The Case for Mandatory Voting in Canada

3118 words - 12 pages . However, one of biggest problems that accompanies mandatory voting laws is that the choice to exercise the right to vote is taken away. Another primary concern about compulsory voting is that a large number of uninterested and uninformed voters are brought to the polls. Conversely, uninformed voters will become familiar with and learn the polling procedures and electoral system over time and uninterested voters are not forced to mark a name on the

A Look at Justice’s Voting Behavior

1657 words - 7 pages vote the way they do, or how they arrive at the decisions they make. Many political scientists have tried to explain the voting behavior of the Justices in order to determine how they will vote. In my paper, I will take a look into theories behind why the Supreme Court Justices vote the way they do, and the many variables that factor into their decisions. My research question that I will investigate throughout this paper is: What factors play a

Founding Fathers and Voting Rights

819 words - 4 pages against the law. Though you can choose a side and also choose the person who agrees with what you believe in. There are two sides you can choose and that are the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. I think the voting rights is fair because it has had its adjustments to where it is equal and fair to everyone in the U.S. Schools should let the kids know at an early age about the doubts of voting. So even though we can’t vote for the real

Similar Essays

What Determines Criminal Behavior? Essay

1861 words - 8 pages What determines criminal behavior? Are they born to be a natural born killer, is it in their genes, or is it a learned behavior? There are multiple factors resulting in criminal behavior, from genes to environmental factors. Although it is said and believed that criminal behavior is biologically determined there are even more learned or environmental factors that play a role in criminal behavior. There are four top social risk factors

Does Nonvoting Hurt Democracy? Essay

669 words - 3 pages just drop a blank ballot, it goes against what I believe is my freedoms. I do agree that negative advertising is hurting voting, but Austin Ranney opinions are more persuading. It is important to have a entire population represent our government, but it is a persons choice not to vote.

The Importance Of Voting In America

1837 words - 7 pages approximately 36% of all eligible voters. That number of people could easily change the outcome of an election. When put in perspective and fully understood, it’s realized just how important it is for every eligible voter to vote, and do so responsibly. The significance of voting is commonly misunderstood. Voting determines things from the president of the United States, to a small town mayor, to representatives, which all in turn determine

Behavioral Models In Political Behavior Essay

1738 words - 7 pages choice. The first behavioral model is the sociological model, or the Columbia model. The sociological model is a product of the research conducted to explain the voting behavior of the 1940 presidential election. This model surveyed the residents of Erie County, Ohio and drew conclusions based on the data collected. “The sociological model uses group level characteristics such as SES, religion, and place of residence to explain how people vote