Turnout and Representativeness in Off-Year Elections

11 Pages Posted: 31 Oct 2018

See all articles by Jan Leighley

Jan Leighley

American University - School of Public Affairs

Jonathan Nagler

NYU - Wilf Family Department of Politics

Date Written: July 30, 2018

Abstract

The drop-off in voter turnout between presidential and off-year elections is one of the most commonly documented empirical patterns in U.S. political behavior. Yet studies of the determinants of voter turnout, and representativeness of voters, in off-year elections, are rare; instead, the patterns observed in presidential elections are assumed to hold for off-year elections. We provide an assessment of the demographic representativeness of voters in off-year elections compared to presidential elections, and find that off-year voters are not less representative of presidential election voters with respect to education and income. We also estimate a multivariable model of voter turnout in off-year elections and confirm that the policy positions of House candidates are associated with who votes, reconciling conflicting findings in previous research and affirming the importance of political factors in determining who votes in off-year elections.

Keywords: voting, elections, representation

Suggested Citation

Leighley, Jan and Nagler, Jonathan, Turnout and Representativeness in Off-Year Elections (July 30, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3263016 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3263016

Jan Leighley

American University - School of Public Affairs ( email )

Washington, DC 20016
United States

Jonathan Nagler (Contact Author)

NYU - Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

Dept of Politics - 2nd floor
19 W. 4th Street
New York, NY 10012
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
138
Abstract Views
753
Rank
311,481
PlumX Metrics