Your Vote Counts After All!

18 August 2009 at 9:50 am 3 comments

| Peter Klein |

The average American had a 1-in-60 million chance of affecting the outcome in the last Presidential election. Boy, do I feel bad!

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Ephemera. Tags: .

Mintzberg Interview Times Are Tough

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Art Carden  |  18 August 2009 at 10:15 am

    By comparison, the reported odds of winning the Missouri Lottery are one in 3,529,526 (source: http://www.molottery.com/lotto/lotto.jsp). Any idea how lottery playing compares to voter turnout?

  • 2. Rafe Champion  |  18 August 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Difficult comparison, you don’t have to pay to vote [but there is a cost to get there]. How much would voter turnout change if voting was not free? What would be the elasticity of demand to vote?

    At the state level, what if all the good people moved to one small state? http://austrianeconomists.typepad.com/weblog/2009/08/just-give-us-new-jersey.html

  • 3. Cliff Grammich  |  18 August 2009 at 9:53 pm

    Interesting question on the lottery and voting. FWIW, I found an article at http://bit.ly/8GThj indicating that 58 percent of North Carolinians have played the lottery in the past three years. By contrast, it appears 63 percent of the voting-age population cast ballots last fall (4.311 million votes cast by an estimated VAP of 6.845M and an estimated citizen VAP of 6.477M). I did not see any crosstabs on who was most likely to play the lottery.

    Many moons ago, I analyzed some data on lottery play by demographic, social, and economic groups in the Chicago metropolitan area. As I recall, those less likely to vote were more likely to play the lottery, but I should add my memory may have faded after all these years. I should also add that, alas, I did not run a crosstab on lottery play among non-voting Austrian economists.

    Many parts of the United States did, of course, once have a poll tax, now barred by the 24th Amendment, ratified in January 1964. I’m not as familiar with historical turnout research as I was many, many, many moons ago, but did stumble across a possibly relevant article at http://bit.ly/6uUb9. I had suspected the Voting Rights Act of 1965 had more of an impact on turnout than the 24th Amendment, but this isn’t entirely clear from the article. Between 1960 and 1964, or in the time the 24th Amendment was ratified, the Southern turnout rate apparently increased from 39.4 to 44.9 percent. Between 1964 and 1968, or in the time the VRA of 1965 was passed, the Southern turnout rate apparently increased from 44.9 to 50.7 percent. I’ll leave to others to comment on the validity of this natural experiment in the elasticity of the demand to vote.

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