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Socioeconomic Class Bias in Turnout, 1964–1988: The Voters Remain the Same

  • Jan E. Leighley (a1) and Jonathan Nagler (a2)
Abstract

We address the question of whether class bias in the American electorate has increased since 1964. We analyze the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey and the National Election Studies for seven consecutive presidential elections, 1964–88. Our results show that conclusions regarding changes in class bias are sensitive to which measure of socioeconomic class is used—income, education, or occupation. We argue that income is the appropriate measure since government policies that discriminate based on socioeconomic class are most likely to do so based on income and there are measurement problems associated with using either education or occupation over time. Our analysis shows that there has been almost no change in class bias in the electorate since 1964.

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Paul R. Abramson , and William Claggett . 1984. “Race-related Differences in Self-reported Turnout.” Journal of Politics 46:719–38.

Paul R. Abramson , and William Claggett . 1986. “Race-Related Differences in Self-Reported and Validated Turnout in 1984.” Journal of Politics 48:412–22.

Barbara A. Anderson , and Brian D. Silver . 1986. “Measurement and Mismeasurement of the Validity of the Self-Reported Vote.” American Journal of Political Science 30:771–85.

Carol A. Cassel , and David B. Hill . 1981. “Explanations of Turnout Decline: A Multivariate Test.” American Politics Quarterly 9:191–95.

Thomas E. Cavanagh 1981/1982. “Changes in American Voter Turnout, 1964–1976.” Political Science Quarterly 96:5365.

M. Margaret Conway . 1981. “Political Participation in Midterm Congressional Elections: Attitudinal and Social Characteristics during the 1970's.” American Politics Quarterly 9:221–14.

John E. Filer , Lawrence W. Kenny , and Rebecca B. Morton . 1991. “Voting Laws, Educational Policies, and Minority Turnout.” Journal of Law and Economics 34:371–93.

John P. Katosh , and Michael W. Traugott . 1981. “The Consequences of Validated and Self-reported Voting Measures.” Public Opinion Quarterly 45:519–35.

Jan E. Leighley , and Jonathan Nagler . 1992. “Individual and Systemic Influences on Turnout: Who Votes? 1984.” Journal of Politics 54:718–40.

Howard L. Reiter 1979. “Why Is Turnout Down?Public Opinion Quarterly 43:297311.

Lee Sigelman . 1982. “The Nonvoting Voter in Voting Research.” American Journal of Political Science 26:4756.

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American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
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