POS 336 Assignment 2

POS 336 Assignment 2 - Lauren Napolitano February 12, 2010...

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Lauren Napolitano February 12, 2010 POS 336: Assignment 2 Many people would consider the 2008 presidential election to be a prominent historical event, but it is interesting to find how many people actually participated in the election. Voter turnout and the reasons behind it have plagued historians and political scientists for decades. It has been an important topic of study in elections of all capacities. This paper will be looking at the voter turnout of the presidential election in 2008 in three states. In particular, I will examine voter behavior in Arizona, Illinois, and New York, and compare them against themselves in the past and each other. I would like to provide insight as to why I chose these three states. I chose Arizona because it is of interest to me since I attend school in the state. I picked Illinois because it is where I grew up and also where I voted in the 2008 presidential election. I selected New York because it is different in geography, size, and location than the other two. These three states will provide juxtaposition, as well as a good general sample for a typical state in America. Below is a chart I put together in Microsoft Excel, which shows the VEP Highest Office Turnout Rate from every general and midterm election from 1980 to 2008 in the three states that I chose. It is obvious that for each midterm election, the turnout rate spikes downward in each state. I say it is obvious because it is well known that voter turnout is much lower for congressional elections compared to presidential elections (Flanigan and Zingale, 48). If you compare the data overall though, it seems that the trend is somewhat in the shape of a flattened-out parabola. In 1980, the overall voter
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turnout was high for each of the states. When looking at 1984-1996, you can notice that the overall voter turnout decreases (with the exception of a spike in 1992). Then in 2000, voter turnout begins to climb again until it hits its highest numbers in 2008. Each of the states has a somewhat similar trend, but at their own set of percentages. First I will examine Arizona, a state with relatively low turnout rates compared to the other two states. In 1980, Arizona’s turnout rate is 46.2%. This is relatively high in the range of Arizona’s turnout rates. The rate stays fairly stable until 1992 when it spikes drastically to 55.70%, which is the all time high for Arizona. Arizona’s rate then drops significantly in 1994, and continues to drop until it hits a low of
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This note was uploaded on 05/04/2010 for the course POS 336 taught by Professor Shafer during the Spring '10 term at ASU.

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POS 336 Assignment 2 - Lauren Napolitano February 12, 2010...

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