Demographics of Voting
Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008
According to2008 data from the United States Census 131,144,000 people voted. In the 2008 presidential election, more females voted than males. 70,415,000 females voted vs. 60,729,000 males voted. 65.7% of Females voted. 61.5% of males voted. Most of the people who voted in 2008 were employed. Of the millions of people who voted, 86,073,000 people were employed and 4,642,000 people were unemployed.
People were more likely to vote with college degrees. Of the people who voted, 82.7% of people with advanced degrees voted and 77% of people with bachelor’s degrees voted. Also, people with incomes over $100,000 were most likely to vote, and 91.8% of those who make over $100,000 voted in 2008. People who are 18 to 24 were least likely to vote, 48.5% of that age group voted. Of people who were 55 to 64, 71.5% voted, and of people who were 65 to 74, 72.4% voted.
According to Dowd (2010), record companies and MTV want young people to vote in this election. If the public service announcements (PSAs) of Rock the Vote were the message, then MTV was certainly the medium. Moreover, MTV was a willing medium. Between 1990 and 1992, MTV donated an estimated twenty million dollars worth of air time for free airing of PSAs.
MTV personnel focused on these issues that mattered to young voters: abortion, affirmative action, AIDS, the economy, education and the environment. This resulted in a record number of young people (more than 11 million) voted in 1992. Also, certain commentators were not pleased by the mere increase in the number of young voters. The present situation wherein Choose or Lose and Rock the Vote register voters by phone or e-mail runs the risk of pampering these unmotivated citizens. Young voters tend to be liberal on lifestyle issues and conservative on economic issues. Choose or Lose purvey a left-leaning agenda, one that is more aligned with liberal Democrats than with conservative Republicans. A few cite that Sumner Redstone – the CEO of MTV’s parent company- is an “unabashed” Liberal.
As Davis (2009) stated in “The Effect of Media Dependency on Voting Decisions”, citizens are not always well-informed and are often apathetic. Voters are likely to vote based on popularity as on issues.
Davis (2009) describes media dependency theory as the relation that exists between individuals and the media. The relationship is characterized by people’s dependency on the media to attain different goals. Typically, these goals fall into one of three categories, which are; understanding of one’s social and inner world, orientation within that world, and entertainment.
People utilize the media to understand political issues, follow the political landscape, and to learn about the various abilities of political candidates. Entertainment is based on likability and popularity for voting decisions. As Davis’ (2009) study found, the dependency on media for entertainment purposes leads to voting decisions that have a superficial basis. Also, the study found that greater media choice leads to a knowledge gap in voters. Individuals who are politically interested have greater opportunity to find political information whereas the apathetic have a greater ability to avoid it. The consequences of this are seen at the polls on Election Day.
If more adults were educated about how voting works, then they would be more informed citizens. This would lead to a positive result, because people would be making the right choice. It is important that citizens become educated about their candidate before they vote so that the right candidate comes into office.
From a demographic stand point it appears that older citizens, individuals 55 to 74 are more likely to vote. I believe that these individuals are more likely to pay more attention to media coverage and disseminate useful information from media coverage. It appears that as a person gets older and wiser they become more media literate as well as better informed about election candidates and issues.
Hallowell (2010) states Rock the Vote consistently sides with the left. As most Americans know, the Iraq War began on March 20, 2003. Three days later, RTV announced, through a press release, the availability of a new song from Lenny Kravitz entitled, “We Want Peace.” Below are the video and lyrics to the controversial song titled “We Want Peace”:
“Here is once again in our face
Why haven’t we learn from our past
We’re at the crossroads of our human race
Why are we kicking our own ass
We’re on the eve of destruction my friends
We are about to go to far
Politicians think that war is the way
But we know that love has the power”
(2010, May. Day ). In Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008. Retrieved Month. Day, Year, from http://www.census.gov/prod/2010pubs/p20-562.pdf
Big Hollywood » Blog Archive » BARACK THE VOTE: How ‘Non-Partisans’ Indoctrinate Our Youth.” Big Hollywood . N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2010.
Davies, J. (2009). The Effect of Media Dependency on Voting Decisions. Conference Papers — International Communication Association, 1-35. Retrieved from Communication & Mass Media Complete database.
Timothy J. Dowd. “Rocking the vote.” ICCE WWW Info Server, University of Groningen. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Nov. 2010. <http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes