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  • AQA Component The electoral process and direct democracy: voting behaviour and the main variables affecting the way people vote in the USA

  • Edexcel Component 5.2.3: US democracy and participation: Voters: how the following factors are likely to influence voting patterns and why, in relation to one recent presidential election campaign (since 2000) — race, religion, gender and education.

Background: what you need to know

This article was written in the wake of ‘Super Tuesday’ — the day, usually in early March of a presidential election year, when the largest number of primaries and caucuses is held. Donald Trump emerged as the clear winner with his rival, Nikki Haley, taking just one state, Vermont.

The article analyses the nature of Trump’s voter base using data from Super Tuesday and other sources. The findings are consistent with the nature of his support in the 2020 election. He draws his support mostly from lower income, less well-educated, older voters and from rural areas. In terms of religion, he is most strongly supported by white evangelical Protestants.

Although Trump’s popularity with Republican Party members has clinched the presidential nomination for him, he faces some challenges in appealing to the wider electorate. Uncommitted voters might have preferred the more moderate Haley and may be repelled if any of the four criminal cases in which he has been indicted go against him.

Click the link below to read the article and then answer the questions:

Super Tuesday in charts: what the results reveal about Trump’s voters

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 2

  • Explain and analyse three factors that influence voter choices in US presidential elections [9 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 3

  • Evaluate the view that education and religion are the most important determinants of voting habits in the US. You must consider this view and the alternative to this view in a balanced way. [30 marks]

    TIP: Make sure that you can discuss a range of factors that influence voting behaviour. You must support your answer with evidence from recent elections, ideally from 2020 — or if you are taking the examination in summer 2025, from the 2024 contest

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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