Oliver, Ch. 2 - Winthrop

Oliver, Ch. 2 - Winthrop

OLIVER, CH. 2 Who Votes in Local Elections? How many constituents need to vote for a group to be truly democratic? Is the voting population representative of the population of the society as a whole? Homevoters in local elections low turnout protects property values and suppresses property taxes Oliver, Ch. 2 Who votes: how many, and the diversity of their sentiments (similar to polling

techniques) In a large, less diverse society, a low proportional turnout can provide an accurate measure of preferences if the voters are a randomly representative sample Who is most likely to vote? Intrinsically motivated, extrinsically mobilized, differentially affected by the costs of voting Oliver, Ch. 2 Intrinsically motivated: Those with the most financial, social, psychological stake in the outcome

Greater benefits, identity tied to democracys future (stakeholders) Candidates appeal to stakeholders and mobilize voters who are sympathetic to their views mobilization is extremely important Oliver, Ch. 2 Costs of voting information, time, number of steps to go through (knowing what to do, where to go) As a democracy narrows in scope, the population of stakeholders becomes increasingly small; as it

becomes more biased, the variance in preferences among members becomes much greater Amount of bias in a democratic organization will skew material incentives toward voter turnout (US government is heavily biased in distribution of resources toward senior citizens); parents of schoolage kids disproportionately vote in school board elections Scope and bias affect the representativeness of a low turnout election those who benefit from a biased democracy are more likely to turn out, providing a less representative

picture of overall constituent preferences Schedule of local elections (chart, p. 65) elections that dont coincide with national elections have far lower turnout Who votes in municipal elections is most determined by relationship to property (p. 71) Discussion of the importance of education in voting why are welleducated people more likely to vote? Education is a more important predictor for renters than for homeowners, who vote in local elections regardless of their

education level Homeowners are more likely to be contacted and mobilized, lower cost of voting (having to re-register when you move) Oliver, Ch. 2 Bias: Do homeowners and the welleducated have different preferences than renters and the less educated? Stakeholders have longer-established and more stable preferences Differences in preferences between homeowners and renters (renters are less

likely to be taxed to pay for services, will be more likely to support generous social services) Oliver, Ch. 3 Who Runs for Local Office? How people vote depends on who they are voting for Local offices dont always provide stepping stones to higher opportunities, people are more

likely to be motivated by civic duty Size, scope and bias affect who runs and the type of campaigns they run Small size, limited scope, low bias draws people who are stakeholders in their communities, concerns with economic development and quality of life rather than partisanship and ideology Oliver, Ch. 3

The types of people who run for local office influence the decisions that governments make If candidates only come from one group, that groups concerns will be prioritized Intrinsic motivations: psychological rewards that one gets from running for and holding office Extrinsic motivations: Tangible social or material benefits from holding office Opportunity an opening comes up Oliver, Ch. 3

Larger democracies have more resources but also more challenges Small scope democracies are less likely to attract ambitious people, larger democracies more likely to attract extrinsically motivated High-bias democracies will be likely to attract extrinsically motivated who are likely to mobilize only certain types of voters Broad-scope democracies are more likely to attract ideological candidates who run ideological campaigns Oliver, Ch. 3

Sample of candidates in suburban Chicago overwhelming majority are white, collegeeducated, male, older, home-owning professionals or retired professionals Civic duty and being recruited by someone else, not as likely to be motivated by a specific issue or by ideology and partisanship (disproportionately political independents) Economic and property development are the big issues, also administration of public services (taxes, spending, quality of service) Oliver, Ch. 3

Newspaper endorsements are important for mayoral candidates but less so for city council Printing and posting yard signs, door to door canvassing, mailings, fliers and phone calls are important campaign tactics Campaigning in a larger suburb is more intense than in a smaller one; campaigns in wealthier suburbs tend to spend less

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