2022 Student Research Conference:
35th Annual Student Research Conference

Evaluating the Effect of Household Level Income Inequality on State Level Voter Turnout in the 2012 and 2016 Presidential Elections

Warren D. Barge
Dr. David Gillette and Dr. Michael Rudy, Faculty Mentors

This study examines the link between income inequality and state-level voter turnout in the United States and proposes that as income inequality increases, voter turnout decreases, as explained by relative power theory. To test this hypothesis, I conduct a state year linear regression analysis between US Census Bureau’s Gini Ratios and voter turnout of the voting-eligible population in the 2012 and 2016 Presidential Elections, utilizing white percentage, age 55+, urban population percentage, poverty rate, median income, voter ID laws, and swing-state status as control variables. This paper fails to find evidence to support its research hypothesis, nor any other major theory proposing a relationship between income inequality and voter turnout. It proposes that for further research there must be a measure of income inequality after taxes and transfers.

Keywords: Income Inequality, Voter Turnout, Relative Power Theory

Topic(s):Political Science

Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: 303-4
Location: SUB GEO B
Time: 2:00

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