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Who Votes Now?Demographics, Issues, Inequality, and Turnout in the United States$
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Jan E. Leighley and Jonathan Nagler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159348

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159348.001.0001

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(p.182) Seven Conclusion
Who Votes Now?

Jan E. Leighley

Jonathan Nagler

Princeton University Press

This chapter returns to broader questions of representation and inequality in U.S. presidential elections. The present analysis of turnout in U.S. presidential elections since 1972 proceeded against a backdrop of seismic changes in economic inequality, and with a particular interest in the income bias of voters. The importance of the substantial and sustained income bias documented is underscored by findings on the consistent differences in the policy preferences of voters and nonvoters. This is the study's most important empirical finding is that voters are significantly more conservative than nonvoters on redistributive issues, and they have been in every election since 1972. Voters may be more liberal than nonvoters on social issues, but on redistributive issues they are not. These redistributive issues define a fundamental relationship between citizens and the state in a modern industrialized democracy and are central to ongoing conflicts about the scope of government. It is on these issues that voters offer a biased view of the preferences of the electorate.

Keywords:   inequality, representation, U.S. presidential elections, voter behavior, voter turnout, electorate, redistributive issues, income bias

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