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Evaluate the View That Voting Behaviour in the Usa Is Determined More by the Socio-Economic Characteristics of the Voters Than by Issues, Candidates and Events. (30 Marks)

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Evaluate the view that voting behaviour in the USA is determined more by the socio-economic characteristics of the voters than by issues, candidates and events. (30 marks)

It is commonly argued that voting behaviour in the USA is determined more by the socio-economic characteristics (religion, race, gender and age) of the voters than by issues, candidates and events. Arguments that support the question include race being an influence, religion being an influence and gender being an influence in all of the recent elections. However, there is evidence to suggest that issues and candidates are the deciding factors in an election.

Firstly, many argue that in the U.S. race has large influence in voting behaviour. For example, in 2012, 93% of African Americans voted for Obama as did 71% of Hispanics. This suggests that racial minorities are more likely to favour Democrats, because of their liberal attitude on issues that are more likely to affect ethnic minorities, as seen with Obama’s promised immigration reform in 2012. This is also seen in the UK, where the Labour party have typically performed better amongst racial minorities. However, some would argue that this is not always the case. The African-American vote for Democrats has been stable (80%+) for over 30 years, but the Hispanic vote has not. Hispanics are typically swing voters. For example, on social issues such as abortion/same-sex marriage, some Hispanics tend to take a more social-conservative stance which attracted them to Bush in 2004, who received 44% of the Hispanic vote in that election (compared to 31% in 2000). However, in the 2008 election, their vote was 67% for Obama in 2008 and 71% in 2012. They were attracted back to the Democrats as the party of minority rights, welfare and supporters of the ‘Dream Act’ allowing for naturalisation as well as Obama’s executive order on Hispanic...

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