The voter turnout demographics in any given jurisdiction can greatly influence the way an election turns out. The challenge of any ruling government that is ruled by how voters vote is to get a fair representation of the general public. When gaps occur in participation, a true representation may not be possible.
Voters who make less money overall are also less likely to vote in any given election.
Part of the reason why voter turnout tends to be better when people have more money or more assets is because they feel like they have more at stake in that election. If new policies or laws could affect the amount of money that they make or could change their lifestyle in some way, then these richer voters will do everything they can with their vote to make sure those changes aren’t able to be processed.
- There was a 15 point gap in voter turnout between members of lower income and higher income households in 2012: 77% vs. 62%.
- In 2012, 15 points separated those who had resided at their current address for less than a year [61%] compared to those who had resided at their current address for at least 5 years [76%].
- This difference has decreased over the last 4 Presidential elections.
- 45% of US youth aged 18-29 turned out in 2012 to vote, down from 51% in 2008.
- In states that mailed sample ballots and information about polling places and extended polling place hours, youth turnout increased by about 10%.
- In 2012, the African-American turnout at 66% exceeded the Caucasian vote for the first time in history.
- Latino and Asian American turnout is consistently 16 to 19 points below Caucasian and African American turnouts.
- The Latino and Asian American demographic is younger than the other racial demographics.
Voting used to be considered a civic responsibility. That isn’t necessarily the attitude that everyone shares today. Part of this reason comes from apathy. When the politicians in any given government struggled to get anything done over the course of an election cycle, it becomes difficult for some voters to care about what politicians going to office. If they all act the same and do the same thing no matter which political party they belong to, then in their eyes, it doesn’t really matter who is in office and so they choose not to vote. If anything, the largest demographic in the voting public are those that choose not to participate. Finding out why they don’t participate and fixing those issues could change how governments are run today.
What Affects Voter Turnout Rates?
- Local population demographics matter. 76% of voting eligible Minnesotans casted ballots, whereas only 45% of eligible Hawaiians did in 2012.
- Low turnout is most pronounced in primary elections, off-year elections for state legislators, and local elections.
- Primary elections with a gap of more than 30 days had a median decline in voter participation of 48.1%.
- Women’s voter turnout has surpassed men’s in every presidential election since 1980.
- In 2008, 72.2% of men 75 years and older voted, compared to only 64.9% of women that age.
- Only 41% of eligible voters making less than $15,000 a year voted.
- From 1972 to 2012, Americans in the 18-29 years old demographic turned out at a rate 15 to 20 points lower than citizens 30 year and older.
There seems to be two things that primarily affect voter turnout rates. The first issue is how much passion of voter has in regards to an election. This tends to be why local elections and off year elections tend to see the lowest overall voter turnout. Even when easy access to ballots is given, including mail in ballots, many communities struggle to see voter turnout rates for these off cycle elections that are above 40%. The second issue is the voting laws. If people are confused by what they need to do to get a vote cast, then most people in that state of mind won’t bother to cast a vote at all. Identification laws, early voting, and registration laws can all affect the overall voter turnout demographic in every community.
When People Do Vote, How Do They Vote?
- In the United States, men typically vote more often as a Republican than as a Democrat.
- Women not only vote more often than men, but they vote more often for Democrats.
- Nine out of 10 African-Americans typically vote for an African-American candidate if one is available in their election.
- Minorities overwhelmingly vote for Democrats, with most demographics having a 70% Democratic vote.
- As income levels go up, people are more likely to vote for Republicans than they are for Democrats.
- Union households as a demographic typically vote for Democrats more often than Republicans.
- As educational levels increase, there is a corresponding increase in the the chances of someone voting for Republicans.
- There is a 6 to 7% chance of a registered Republican or registered Democrat voting for a candidate in the other party.
Social issues also tends away on the minds of voters today. From healthcare reform to immigration reform, people are tired of the status quo. They want to see their politicians be able to create meaningful changes. The only problem is that there is so much gridlock in modern politics that almost nothing comprehensive gets done. This understandably creates a lot of frustration in the general public. Even so, most people tend to vote in static patterns. If you vote for Democrats, then you typically vote for Democrats first. The same is true for Republicans. Only if new ideas are made available and a plan of action is put forth during the election cycle can the mind of a voter be swayed. By knowing this, we can understand the reasoning behind the voter turnout demographics in a more comprehensive way.