Category Archives: Elections

New data makes it clear: Nonvoters handed Trump the presidency

Source: Philip Bump, Washington Post, August 9, 2018

Most of our assessments of the electorate in 2016 are dependent on estimates. Polling before the election that suggested where people were leaning; exit polling after the fact that gives us some sense of who actually turned out. When more than 137 million people vote, understanding exactly who they were and why they voted the way they did necessarily involves some guesswork.

On Thursday, though, Pew Research Center released an unusually robust survey of the 2016 electorate. In addition to having asked people how they voted, Pew’s team verified that they did, giving us a picture not only of the electorate but also of those who didn’t vote. There are a number of interesting details that emerge from that research, including a breakdown of President Trump’s support that confirms much of his base has backed him enthusiastically since the Republican primaries.

The data also makes another point very clear: Those who didn’t vote are as responsible for the outcome of the election as those who did…..

How the Russian government used disinformation and cyber warfare in 2016 election – an ethical hacker explains

Source: Timothy Summers, The Conversation, July 27, 2018

The Soviet Union and now Russia under Vladimir Putin have waged a political power struggle against the West for nearly a century. Spreading false and distorted information – called “dezinformatsiya” after the Russian word for “disinformation” – is an age-old strategy for coordinated and sustained influence campaigns that have interrupted the possibility of level-headed political discourse. Emerging reports that Russian hackers targeted a Democratic senator’s 2018 reelection campaign suggest that what happened in the lead-up to the 2016 presidential election may be set to recur…..

Political Bubbles and Hidden Diversity: Highlights From a Very Detailed Map of the 2016 Election

Source: New York Times, The Upshot, July 25, 2018

Today The New York Times published an interactive map that lets you explore the 2016 presidential election at the highest level of detail available: by voting precinct.

This map, although nearly two years old, continues to define American politics. The vast majority of people who voted for Donald J. Trump say they approve of his job performance today, while the vast majority of Hillary Clinton voters say they disapprove.

On the neighborhood level, many of us really do live in an electoral bubble, this map shows: More than one in five voters lived in a precinct where 80 percent of the two-party vote went to Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton. But the map also reveals surprising diversity.

Purges: A Growing Threat to the Right to Vote

Source: Jonathan Brater, Kevin Morris, Myrna Pérez, Christopher Deluzio, Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law, 2018

From the abstract:
Voter purges are an often-flawed process of cleaning up voter rolls by deleting names from registration lists. Done badly, they can prevent eligible people from casting a ballot that counts. This report examines the growing threat, and outlines steps every state can take to protect voters in November and beyond. This builds on the Brennan Center’s 2008 report, Voter Purges.

Young People Are Registering to Vote in Huge Numbers, New Study Finds

Source: Kara Voght, Mother Jones, July 19, 2018

In some battleground states, 18-to-29-year-olds now make up a far greater percentage of new registrants.

The March for Our Lives teens said they’d #VoteThemOut, and a new study suggests they could be poised to do just that. According to the political data firm TargetSmart, the percentage of newly registered voters who are under the age of 30 has grown significantly in a number of key battleground states since the February school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The surge could have big implications in this fall’s fight for control of Congress.

The study evaluated all new voter registrations in the 39 states with available data since February 14, 2018—the day of the Parkland shooting—and calculated the change in the share of new registrants who are 18 to 29 years old. Across the country, the share of youth registrants increased by a modest 2.16 percentage points. But in Indiana, Virginia, and New York—home to some of this year’s marquee House and Senate contests—the share of youth registrants increased by 9.87, 10.49, and 10.7 percentage points, respectively. In Pennsylvania—where voters will decide as many as nine competitive congressional races—the share of new registrants who are younger than 30 jumped by a whopping 16.14 percentage points. The study doesn’t evaluate how many of the new registrants may have been motivated by the #NeverAgain movement…..

Related:
Analysis: After Parkland Shooting, Youth Voter Registration Surges
Source: Tom Bonier, TargetSmart, July 19, 2018

A new TargetSmart analysis of voter registration data in the 39 states with available data show that registration rates for voters aged 18-29 have significantly increased in key battleground states over the last seven months, presaging the increased impact youth voters may have on the upcoming midterm and presidential elections. Using February 14, 2018, as a reference point ­­– the date on which the Parkland shooting happened, which spurred a youth-led movement to register young voters across the country — TargetSmart’s analysis found that the share of youth registrants nationwide has increased by 2.16 percent, a potentially impactful surge in youth enrollment. With more than a dozen states’ primaries still left and months until voter registration deadlines, the findings are an early quantitative sign that youth turnout is on the rise in this year’s midterm elections. The state-by-state analysis shows that younger voters are poised to have an outsized impact in key battleground races. Pennsylvania – which has November elections for U.S. Senator, Governor, and many critical House races – saw youth voter registration surge by over 16 points after February 14, jumping from 45.2 percent to 61.4 percent of new registrants.

The Ties That Double Bind: Social Roles and Women’s Underrepresentation in Politics

Source: Dawn Langan Teele, Joshua Lalla, Frances Rosenbluth, American Political Science Review, Volume 112, Issue 3, August 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
This paper theorizes three forms of bias that might limit women’s representation: outright hostility, double standards, and a double bind whereby desired traits present bigger burdens for women than men. We examine these forms of bias using conjoint experiments derived from several original surveys—a population survey of American voters and two rounds of surveys of American public officials. We find no evidence of outright discrimination or of double standards. All else equal, most groups of respondents prefer female candidates, and evaluate men and women with identical profiles similarly. But on closer inspection, all is not equal. Across the board, elites and voters prefer candidates with traditional household profiles such as being married and having children, resulting in a double bind for many women. So long as social expectations about women’s familial commitments cut against the demands of a full-time political career, women are likely to remain underrepresented in politics.

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.