I VOTE THEREFORE I AM: EXPRESSIVE VOTING, ATTITUDES TOWARD GAYS AND LESBIANS, AND NASCAR DADS & WAL-MART MOMS
Myers, Andrew Bryce
University of Kansas
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In the course of American politics, the voter has been the object of intense speculation. In order to make sense of this enigma, campaigns and scholars have sought to pigeonhole the voter by organizing the electorate as a collection of stereotypes. Candidates and campaigns have jockeyed for the soccer mom vote, the Reagan democrat vote, the latte liberal vote, the list goes on. In this text, the author tests two such stereotypes: `Wal-Mart moms' and `NASCAR dads'. After a brief demonstration of the way in which popular and academic literature has deployed these stereotypes, the author surveys the literature on `expressive voting'. Using `expressive voting'--which argues that individuals use votes to express their perceived identities--in tandem with these articulations of perceived identities, the author proposes that tests should yield that women who have children and shop at Wal-Mart, and men who have children and are NASCAR fans, should (assuming those stereotypes are accurate representations) vote to express their identities as per social expectations. Using 2006 Victory Fund exit poll data (conducted by Zogby International), the author conducts logistic and ordered logistic regressions to test the validity of these stereotypes in five contexts: partisan identification, the 2004 Presidential election, the 2006 midterm Congressional elections, approval of marriage for same-sex couples, and willingness to vote for a gay or lesbian candidate. In the end, the data indicates that there is rarely any statistically significant indicator that Wal-Mart moms, or NASCAR dads, are prone to respond a given way in any context. In fact, the only statistically significant evidence was found in relation to marriage equality and, at that, only one of those responses was what the literature indicated we should expect.
- Political Science Dissertations and Theses 
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