Category Archives: Elections

Who Punishes Extremist Nominees? Candidate Ideology and Turning Out the Base in US Elections

Source: Andrew B. Hall, Daniel M. Thompson, American Political Science Review, Volume 112, Issue 3, August 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Political observers, campaign experts, and academics alike argue bitterly over whether it is more important for a party to capture ideologically moderate swing voters or to encourage turnout among hardcore partisans. The behavioral literature in American politics suggests that voters are not informed enough, and are too partisan, to be swing voters, while the institutional literature suggests that moderate candidates tend to perform better. We speak to this debate by examining the link between the ideology of congressional candidates and the turnout of their parties’ bases in US House races, 2006–2014. Combining a regression discontinuity design in close primary races with survey and administrative data on individual voter turnout, we find that extremist nominees—as measured by the mix of campaign contributions they receive—suffer electorally, largely because they decrease their party’s share of turnout in the general election, skewing the electorate towards their opponent’s party. The results help show how the behavioral and institutional literatures can be connected. For our sample of elections, turnout appears to be the dominant force in determining election outcomes, but it advantages ideologically moderate candidates because extremists appear to activate the opposing party’s base more than their own.

Business-Labor-Ideology Split in Lobbying

Source: Open Secrets, June 25, 2018

In Janus v. AFSCME, the Supreme Court considers whether unions can charge “agency fees” to employees who did not join the union, but benefit from collective bargaining. In addition to the breakdown between business and labor spending on campaign contributions here, here we provide a data set showing how lobbying spending breaks down between business and labor. Click here to see the data

How Local Media Coverage of Voter Fraud Influences Partisan Perceptions in the United States

Source: Adriano Udani, David C. Kimball, Brian Fogarty, State Politics & Policy Quarterly, Volume 18 Issue 2, June 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Extant findings show that voter fraud is extremely rare and difficult to prove in the United States. Voter’s knowledge about voter fraud allegations likely comes through the media, who tend to sensationalize the issue. In this study, we argue that the more voters are exposed to media coverage of voter fraud allegations, the more likely that they will perceive that voter fraud is a frequent problem. We merge the 2012 Survey of Performance of American Elections with state-level media coverage of voter fraud leading up to the 2012 election. Our results show that media coverage of voter fraud is associated with public beliefs about voter fraud. In states where fraud was more frequently featured in local media outlets, public concerns about voter fraud were heightened. In particular, we find that press attention to voter fraud has a larger influence on Republicans than Democrats and Independents. We further find that media coverage of voter fraud does not further polarize partisan perceptions of voter fraud. Rather, political interest moderates state media coverage on voter fraud beliefs only among Republicans. Last, our results provide no support that demographic changes, approval of election administration, or information concerning actual reported voting irregularities have any discernable effects on partisan perceptions.

9 essential reads on the Supreme Court and gerrymandering

Source: Aviva Rutkin, The Conversation, June 20, 2018

On June 18, the U.S. Supreme Court kicked a closely watched case on gerrymandering back to the lower court.

Gerrymandering – where states are carved up into oddly shaped electoral districts favoring one political party over another – has ignited debates in a number of states, including North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Many observers had hoped that the decision on Gill v. Whitford would provide some clarity on whether this controversial practice is constitutional. To better understand what the fight’s all about, we turned to articles in our archive.

Labor Unions and Political Participation in Comparative Perspective

Source: Jasmine Kerrissey Evan Schofer, Social Forces, Advance Access, June 6, 2018
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From the abstract:
This research uses comparative survey data to examine the effects of labor union membership on individual political participation. We argue that national political institutions—specifically, democracy and corporatism—shape the ways that unions mobilize their members to engage in the political sphere. Democratic regimes provide structural opportunities and cultural repertoires that lead unions to focus on member mobilization, especially via contentious politics and political parties. Corporatism, which directly links unions to state structures, undercuts the logics and incentives for union mobilization. We draw upon historical cases of Germany, the United States, Chile, and Egypt to illustrate how democracy and corporatism shape unions’ mobilization efforts. Multilevel models of World Values Survey data from roughly 60 countries find that union members participate more than non-members across a range of electoral and extra-institutional political acts, such as demonstrating, occupying buildings, signing petitions, party work, and so forth. In democratic societies, such effects are stronger and participation shifts toward parties and contentious politics. In less democratic societies, union members are particularly likely to work with and through other political organizations. Corporatist arrangements generally dampen the political activities of union members.

50 Years After 1968, Can the Young Change Politics? A Striking New Poll Says Yes

Source: Richard Eskow, OurFuture.org, June 5, 2018

Fifty years ago, in the dust and fire of global youth activism, everything seemed possible. The political world was a cloud filled with chaos and opportunity, pain and promise. The young were a powerful force, even a world-changing one.

Could they become that force again?

As many Millennials vote for the first time today in state primaries from New Jersey to Iowa and California, a new poll of their views offers some intriguing glimpses into the future.

The survey finds that most Millennials want “a strong government” to manage the economy, and that most millennial Democrats have a favorable view of socialism.

What do this poll, and the past, say about our political future? ….

…. A new survey from the University of Chicago’s GenForward project suggests that these voters could pull the Democratic Party, and American politics, sharply to the left. The survey of 1,750 respondents found that “Majorities of Millennials across race and ethnicity believe a strong government rather than a free market approach is needed to address today’s complex economic problems.” ….

Related:
Political Polarization and Trust among Millennials: A summary of key findings from the first-of-its-kind bimonthly survey of racially and ethnically diverse young adults 18-34
Source: Cathy J. Cohen, Matthew Fowler, Vladimir E. Medenica and Jon C. Rogowski, GenForward, May 2018

Naming Our Desire: How Do We Talk About Socialism in America?
Source: Mark Engler, Dissent, Fall 2017

The millennial embrace of socialism has allowed a new generation to draw inspiration from a long legacy of struggle.