Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Blame, not just poor economy, needed to impact voting

17.06.2003


People facing economic hard times are more likely to vote when they believe government is at fault

Contrary to previous research indicating that people who are enduring financial hardship are less likely to vote, a study at Rice University suggests this is not always the case.
"Data from the American National Election Studies demonstrate that those facing economic adversity are more likely to vote when they blame the government for economic outcomes," said Kevin Arceneaux, a political science research assistant at Rice, whose findings were published in Political Research Quarterly.


"One of the oldest clichés in politics is that what matters most is turnout – who gets out to vote on election day," he said. The belief was that people with money woes are more worried about their finances than about casting a ballot, so on election day they’re busy trying to make money and won’t take time to go to the polls. Although such people are more likely to prefer the political party who is not in office when the economy is bad, their preference is not registered because they don’t vote. After reading these conclusions in a 1994 paper by political scientist Ben Radcliff, Arceneaux thought the argument was interesting, "but it didn’t square with how I thought things worked," he said.

Arceneaux reviewed five studies based on election results between 1990 and 1998. He found that when people in economic distress think the government caused the problems with the economy, not only are they more likely to vote, they are more likely to vote against the incumbent party.

"When the economy goes in the dumps, the White House needs to watch out, because the people who are hurting for money will express their dissatisfaction with the government at the ballot box," Arceneaux said.

He cited the 1992 election as an example: Bill Clinton did a good job of staying on message – "It’s the economy, Stupid" – and used the high misery index (unemployment plus inflation) to convince the majority of voters that the nation’s economic problems were George Bush Sr.’s fault.

Arceneaux acknowledged that Radcliff was right in one respect: Those who face economic hardship but don’t blame the government are, in fact, less likely to vote. But since they don’t blame the government, they are not more or less likely to vote against the incumbent.

The implications of Arceneaux’s findings are that when the economy is bad, the opposition party has to do whatever it can to convince voters that the current administration is at fault. "In 2004, if the economy is still like it is now, the Democrats would do well to say that George W. Bush is responsible," Arceneaux said. "And Bush needs to do everything possible to blame someone else for the poor economy, such as terrorists, the war or the business cycle."

Arceneaux said his findings are not too surprising. "Sometimes the role of science is to demonstrate the obvious."

Having just received a Ph.D. in political science from Rice, Arceneaux is now pursuing a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University, where he will be part of a research team that uses field experiments to measure the impact of different types of messages and media on voter turnout, as well as other forms of political behavior.

B.J. Almond | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://chico.rice.edu/

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>