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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

The article analyses voting behaviour in the recent midterm Congressional elections. It provides some up-to-date examples that you can use in the examination. Several established trends have been confirmed in 2022. Republicans continue to dominate in rural areas, whilst Democrats are more successful in cities. Suburban areas are the real battleground between the parties. There is also an age divide, with younger voters showing a marked preference for the Democrats. Black and Latino voters, and college-educated women, are two other key elements of the Democrat constituency.

The outcomes of election day ballot measures are also linked to party allegiance. Measures to protect abortion rights were passed in Democrat-dominated states (Vermont, California). The legalisation of drugs is another dividing line, with Democrat states such as Colorado taking a more permissive stance than Republican states such as Arkansas.

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

By the numbers: what we have learnt from the 2022 US midterm elections

Question in the style of AQA Politics Paper 2

  • Explain and analyse three factors that influence levels of support for the two major US political parties. [9 marks]

Question in the style of Edexcel Politics Paper 3

  • Evaluate the view that race and gender 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 cite evidence of the behaviour of various social groups in recent elections. There is a correlation between factors such as race and gender, and support for the Democrats or Republicans, but be aware of the exceptions, such as Latino support for Donald Trump in Florida in the 2020 presidential election. What other factors influence voting behaviour?

Graham Goodlad, Portsmouth High School

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