Does Racial Identity play a role in the Likelihood of Voting in the Upcoming Election?

The upcoming election is unlike any other in America’s past, and has a lot of people getting excited and very frustrated about the candidates. Will the uniqueness of this election, however, affect voter turnout? To examine this question, we turn to a survey conducted by Professor Lindner and associates.

This survey explored ways in which people obtain their news about the election, what party they identify most with, their likelihood of voting, and questions about certain identities, to name a few. I was interested to see if the polarizing nature of this election had any sort of affect on proposed minority voting habits.

If we look into previous elections, historically, minority voter turnout has been less than that of whites (https://www.brookings.edu/research/minority-turnout-determined-the-2012-election/). The elections of 2008 and 2012 saw higher minority voter turnouts than in previous elections, but will this trend continue in this election season?

To examine this question we must first look at the variables in play. For this survey, the frequency of racial and ethnic identification is as follows:

The frequency of likeliness of voting is another important variable.

When taken together, survey results suggest that racial identification may have an impact on voter turnout in the coming election.

If we look at the crosstabulation or the graph below, we see that an overwhelming amount, 91.9%, of Non-Hispanic White respondents reported that they definitely will vote in the upcoming election. The percentages of members of other races reporting that they will definitely vote in the coming election don’t prove to be as high. Latino or Hispanic American respondents have a high reporting of definitely voting at 87.50%, but East Asian/Asian and Black/Afro-Carribean/African American respondents did not report as high of a likelihood of definitely voting in the coming election.

Additionally, a very high percentage, 50%, of South Asian or Indian American voters in this survey reported that they definitely would not be voting.

These results may suggest a number of things. On the one hand, the lower percentages of minority respondents that said they are definitely going to vote in this year’s election could suggest a lack of enthusiasm for either candidate or frustration with politics in general. However, if this were the case we would expect to see lower likelihood of voting across the board, and not just for certain races. Instead, I think these results suggest something more about the demographics of people who completed the survey. If we look back to the frequency tables above, we see that only 1.3% of respondents were South Asian or Indian American. Therefore, one South Asian/Indian American person’s response holds much more weight than one Non-Hispanic White respondent’s answer. This low response rate from South Asian/Indian Americans stems from a limitation of the research method used in this survey. Due to the fact that Skidmore has a more largely white population than any other race, the survey is bound to obtain more responses from Non-Hispanic white people than from any other race. This is seen in the frequency table for Racial identification, which reports that 77.4% of respondents to the survey were Non-Hispanic Whites. If we look at the frequency distribution of likelihood of voting, 86.2% of people responded that they would definitely vote in the election. Therefore, while it is interesting to see how these variables affect each other, it is hard to draw any certain conclusions about the voter turnout based on racial identifications with this particular study. A larger study would have to be done with a more representative sample to make more predictive conclusions about voter turnout in the upcoming election.