SAGE Journal Articles
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Abstract: The research addresses youth voter turnout in the United States and, specifically, tests the relationship between candidate age and a commitment to vote by young people in a controlled experiment. We learn that potential young voters are more willing to commit to vote when they view pictures of younger candidates running. This is the case after controlling for the age and partisanship of respondents. In a real-world test of our experimental results, we examine state-level variation in youth voter turnout in midterm governor and Senate races (1994-2010). In the state-level analysis, we find a larger candidate age gap in governor and Senate races associates with higher levels of youth mobilization. In all, the research affirms the value of candidate characteristics as a predictor of voting behavior.
Abstract: Primaries frequently exacerbate ideological divisions within a party. When parties select more moderate candidates whom they believe will appeal to a broader audience, the nominee must find a way to win over their party’s base. We investigate the potential rewards of using the vice presidential nominee to increase voter turnout among those ideologically alienated by a party’s moderate nominee. We also examine the risks of a more extreme vice presidential nominee costing a president the support of moderate voters. To perform this analysis, we examine how voters’ ideologies and attitudes toward Sarah Palin affected their voter turnout and their vote choice. By doing this, we are able to assess the effectiveness of the attempt to activate the base and find that while vice presidential nominees may provide the opportunity to effectively target ideological groups, they may also contribute to a loss of support from moderately inclined voters.