Thursday, November 15, 2012

Voting mythos

So how often do you hear someone repeat the mantra that voter turnout for minorities is less than others? 

This is a graph of voter participation, not voter turnout, for voting districts in Allegheny County.  Voter turnout is ballots cast divided by registered voters.  Voter participation here is ballots cast divided by the voting eligible (age 18 and over) population.  The hypothesis that African Americans are less likely to vote would mean that the line there is sloping downward.

We can talk about exceptional elections, but the pattern in this graph is pretty typical of all local races going back many years.  And yes, it is all more than one dimensional, but still pretty baseless to just say minorities vote less.  Some of the things most commonly believed are often the most baseless.


Anonymous CZ said...


Friday, November 16, 2012 8:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This graph is very data rich and very interesting, but it w could be much more visually effective at proving or disproving the predominant stereotype with some simple modifications. It might be more visually effective to use a bar graph with the African American Voter Participation beside all of the other ethnic group voter participation rates, and the overall participation rate for each county, or as aggregate data. If you have the numerical data, could you post an excel spreadsheet of it?

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