What Else Might Affect Presidential Vote Choice?
Factors other than income (such as the race, ethnicity, and gender of the voter) might be equally or even more important in determining presidential vote choice.
African American voters are far more likely to support Democrats than Republicans.
A gender gap exists whereby women are more likely to support the Democratic candidate while men are more likely to support the Republican.
What Other Issues Were Important in the 2008 Presidential Election?
In the 2008 election, many voters cast their ballots focused on issues other than their personal finances.
- Party and ideology: In recent elections, partisanship has been a crucial factor in determining how citizens vote. According to CNN’s exit poll data, 89 percent of Democrats supported Barack Obama, and 90 percent of Republicans supported John McCain. The deciding factors in the election were that: (1) there were more self-identified Democrats than Republicans; and (2) Obama bested McCain among independents by 52 to 44 percent.
- Age: Obama enjoyed significant leads over McCain among younger voters, winning the 18–29 age group by about 2 to 1 and also winning the 30–39 age group 54 to 44 percent. The two candidates tied among voters between 40 and 64. The only age group that McCain won was voters 65 and over.
- The “values” vote: With Sarah Palin on the ticket, the McCain campaign sought to court the social conservative wing of the Republican Party (a wing of the party that traditionally has not favored McCain).
Examining the “Values” Vote
The presence of issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and stem cell research in a campaign can bring moral and values issues to the forefront for many American voters.
- Republicans tend to win overwhelmingly among voters who claim that moral values are important in determining their vote choice.
- Although morals and “values” can be demonstrated in many ways, the relationship between church attendance and presidential choice seems as clear as the relationship between income and the presidential vote.
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