Chicago State University 2020 Congressional District Election Paper please this assignment is the final one and worths a lot. please read the instructions before you bid. DUE IN 16 hours
From the syllabus:
Your writing assignment is to write an analysis of its electoral politics. Your report will discuss and analyze your assigned polity including constituency characteristics and recent electoral outcomes. You should briefly discuss recent and current electoral context including candidates running in primary and general elections and issues that seem to be important to voters. By applying material presented in the class and the readings, as well as any outside material, you should predict the outcome of the 2020 election in your constituency. You should evaluate your own expectations and discuss what you have learned (from the class and from actual voters in your assigned district!). During the last two weeks of the semester, each student will make a very brief presentation about their electoral constituency, the election context, and predication of the election outcome.
* Your paper should include about 7-8 pages of text, exclusive of references, any tables of figures, a cover page, etc. You should cite sources, quotations, and so forth in your paper. The paper has three basic parts. The longest section (about 4 pages) should provide relevant descriptions of your congressional district including constituency characteristics and key demographics. This section should also discuss recent election results in the district including the 2016 and 2018 elections. A discussion of partisan competition, influential interest groups in the electoral environment, media markets and outlets, political and campaign issues, and candidate experience and appeals. Any background information that is important for understanding the congressional election in 2020 should be included here.
* A second section (approximately 2 pages) should put the relevant information about the district into context. How does the material from lecture and our texts relate to understanding political outcomes in your district? This section helps communicate to your reader that you have mastered the material and are able to apply it to the congressional election you have been assigned.
* A final section (around 2 pages) should give an informed opinion on the 2020 elections. Who are the likely candidates (primary and general elections)? What do you predict for the congressional election outcome in November 2020, and why? Even if the candidates/nominees are unknown, you should be able to predict the party outcome based on the material we have covered. Would this be a change from past elections or something consistent with the future? Although you are not asked about the presidential election nationally, you should be able to add something about the relationship between the presidential and congressional (and other?) contests in your district. In this final section, or in the previous section, you might want to discuss broader trends for the next year and how they may impact the congressional election (these might include impeachment, the national or local economies, domestic or foreign crises, campaign finance, electoral law, or anything that might impact the election result).
* That noted, it is also important to remember the outcomes of congressional elections are quite predictable. But it is also important to remember that your assigned district shows signs of potential electoral volatility—the 2020 election outcome could reasonably go either way and, with other districts in our class, could decide control of the House of Representatives. A firm partisan prediction for 2020 election outcome should be your conclusion as well as the theme that structures your paper’s organization.
* The outline above is intended as a guideline, not a strict rule or rubric to follow. You might consider other ways to format your paper if you find it useful. For instance, you might write your paper as a research report for a potential candidate, a potential campaign donor, as background for a political journalist, or a state or national political party official. Your goal is not to write about what you want the outcome to be, rather you want to provide a realistic and objective assessment of what the election outcome is likely to be.
* In addition to the text, you should include references, notes if you have them, any tables or figures (past election result, district maps), or any other supplemental material. You should cite references for all material you use for the paper. Any citation style is acceptable, although APSA style (Chicago style) of (name, date) references is preferred. Do not fill your text with book or article titles or web site addresses—content and thoughtful analysis are what make a good report. A strong paper has no distracting spelling or grammatical mistakes and is written well. Rereading and revision of the paper are critical for producing a better paper.
* You will make a brief presentation on your congressional district on one of the following class dates: Wednesday, November 20, Friday, November 22, Monday, December 2, and Wednesday, December 4. Please email our TA, Aime, to reserve a spot on the day’s agenda. Attendance of all students on all presentation days is, of course, expected. Monday, October 28th
End of Unit 2:
o Unit 2 is now completed → Begin unit 3 on Wednesday!
Wednesday, October 30th
Unit 3, Lesson 1:
Are Voters Informed? Political Communication & the Media
Are Voters Informed?
o Voter information is a central assumption of some rational models
▪ Rational models assume voters vote in a way that is logic-based, not
o Surveys suggest voters have little knowledge
▪ We are not police scanners picking up every detail in the void
▪ We are more like fire alarms suddenly caring about issues when
something big happens (retrospective)
• Ex: Ukraine
o Links to political sophistication & levels of conceptualization
▪ Most Americans have low levels of both ^
o Rational voters may use cues like party ID, incumbency, & broad news
information (Popkin 1991)
▪ Makes sense for citizens to pay more attention to these cues because they
may not have the time or resources to evaluate all kinds of things like
political sciences & journalists do
o Idea that certain parties/ candidates are perceived as better able to “handle”
certain problems in comparison to others
▪ Campaign effect → capability to resolve a political problem/ issue better
o Reputations for policy & program interests are based on past political history
▪ Issue ownership is the perception of voters over which party/ candidate is
better able to succeed in a certain problem/ issue
• Primarily obtained through media
▪ ^ This is utilized by political campaigns during an election
Group Activity (Responses emailed to TA, Aime Hogue)
o Found to be the Most Important Issues for 2020 Election for All:
▪ Less political corruption/ scandal
▪ Bipartisan cooperation/ less gridlock → More bills being passed
▪ Decrease in homlessness
▪ Most Important Issues for Liberals:
Civil rights/ liberties
▪ Most Important Issues for Conservatives:
• National security
• Trade deals
o Issue Ownership: Political Parties’ Capacity
▪ Democrats Perceived Better At:
• Civil rights/ liberties
▪ Republicans Perceived Better At:
• Economic issues
• Foreign policy
• Defense (border protection)
▪ Split Opinions/ Neither Party Perceived as Capable:
• Budget deficit
• Social issues
Table 1: Perceived Issue Handling of the Parties
Friday, November 1st
Unit 3: No Class
Class is cancelled – Posted on syllabus
o → No notes!
Friday, November 8th
Section 2, Lesson 2:
A Choice or an Echo? Partisanship & Performance, Cont’d.
Percent Among Demographic Groups who Responded “Correct”:
o When Asked Where are Troops:
▪ Answers split nearly in ¼ between N/S/E/W Korea
▪ Shows there is low knowledge
▪ Men are generally more educated about political knowledge than women
• Could be confounded by socialization, expectations, lack of other
women representation, men’s preferred occupations, union
▪ Minority groups are less knowledgeable but gap is declining
▪ Big differences between people with a college degree or more
o There are some differences among demographic or socioeconomic groups,
education is a fundamental factor
o The links with education & income imply a relationship between knowledge &
political sophistication & levels of conceptualization discussed earlier
o Appears to be some relationship to news consumption, although the evidence
here is more difficult to identify
Recall: Issue Voting (Prospective)
o Prospective Voting/ Evaluation:
▪ Assessment of candidate & party platforms accounting for policy positions
o Criteria 1: Information load is heavy so it requires voters to know their own
preferences & each party or candidate’s
▪ About 15-20% cannot place themselves on an issue
▪ A similar number cannot place both presidential candidates on the same
o Criteria 2: Voters/ respondents must see a difference between the candidate’s
positions on the scales
o Criteria 3: Democratic candidate should be more liberal than Republic candidate
o This would be “correct” voting
▪ About 20-30% meet all criteria in 2016
Issue Voting – Retrospective
o Retrospective Voting/ Evaluation:
▪ Assessment of past incumbent candidate or party performance in office
• Typically cast in economic terms, but could be other characteristics
o “Voters are not fools” – Key 1966
▪ Concerned with policy & evaluate on the basis of past performance
o Reasonable Basis – Downs 1957
Suggests the past is a reasonable basis to evaluate what will happen in the
Issue Voting – Retrospective, Cont’d
▪ Country going on “right track or wrong track”
• Reagan’s campaign strategy used the misery index to decrease
support towards the incumbent
o 2 Ways to Interpret Economic Retrospective Evaluation:
▪ 1. Pocketbook/ Egotropic:
• Evaluation based on person or household circumstances
• “Would you say you & your family are better/worse off than you
were a year ago?” – ANES
o ACGR Table 7.4
▪ 2. Sociotropic:
• Evaluation based on national or other macro indicators of
• “Would you say that the nation’s economy has gotten better/
worse/ stayed the same in the last year?” – ANES
o ACGR Table 7.5
▪ Is one better than the other?
Monday, November 18th
Section 2, Lesson 5:
What Should We Expect? Congressional (& Other) Elections, Cont’d.
Surge & Decline
o Surge →
▪ Turnout among partisans supporting presidential victor & independent
leaners increases that party’s number of marginal seats
o Decline →
▪ Turnout recedes in midterm elections which bring vote share back to norm
(based off partisanship), presidential party loses seats
o *The more seats a party wins in a presidential year, the more the party loses in
▪ For 2016, since there was no surge, should there be no decline?
• In 2018, there was a decline in House, but not Senate
▪ So, does turnout increase among all party identification groups or just
o A. Candidate Image:
▪ How electorate perceives candidate & how they are doing with their local
o B. Local (Economic & Other) Conditions:
▪ How candidates are perceived as succeeding or failing in local economic
o C. Issues:
▪ Which issues candidates are most involved with
o D. Campaign:
▪ Expenditures, media coverage, etc
But… Political Knowledge?
o Remember that Americans (overall) have low approval levels of Congress, but
they generally have approval of their own Representative in Congress
o Keep in mind that many Americans cannot recall that much about politics
o Over ⅓ of Americans (37%) can name their Representative in Congress
Monday, November 4th
Unit 3, Lesson 2:
Are Voters Informed? Political Communication & the Media, Cont’d.
o When incumbent candidates pick up a certain issue, they have a greater impact
than new candidates
o “Democratic” issues are usually more present within the news
o Electorate perceives specific parties as more able to handle certain
Preferences for News Consumption
o Television (cable/ satellite) remains the most common sources of political & other
news, although consumption overall is declining
▪ Television & print newspaper consumption have gone down
▪ Radio, social media, & news websites consumption have gone slightly up
o We are in a “post-broadcast democracy era” (Prior 2007)
▪ Those with high interest/ sophistication follow news more consistently
Others receive news & information as by-product of other media
Preference for News Consumption Sources
▪ 4 News Outlets Used Today:
• Most people (more than any other group) say television is most
• Second place is online sources (34%)
• Radio (14%) is third, while print (7%) in last place is continuing to
▪ Watching the news is more popular than reading or listening to it
Declining News Audience:
4 Functions of Media (from book)
o 1. Surveillance
▪ Public surveillance serves the collective needs of the public. This is the
gatekeeping role of news media
▪ News people determine which political happening will be reported or
ignored, aka agenda setting →
• Thus, they decide what will become a political focus & as a result,
may force politicians to respond to certain situations
• News holes are times & spaces available for reporting news
• Stories can be overlooked due to lack of time & space, or because
the subject is not deemed “newsworthy” or doesn’t meet
▪ Provides citizens’ need for information & reassurance that the political
system continues to operate despite crisis or mistakes
▪ Fulfill needs for entertainment, companionship, tension relief, & ways to
o 2. Interpretation
▪ Media frames stories by putting events into context & speculating about
• How a story is framed can determine its impact
▪ Media can shape the public’s conclusions regarding the subject in
• Even less reputable media outlets can have this power
▪ For instance, in elections, the focus is on “horse race” coverage
• ^ As opposed to the discussion of issues
• Instead, it is all about who is ahead & who is behind
▪ 2016 Campaign Coverage: (% of news reports)
• 42% horse race
• 24% other
• 17% controversies
• 10% policy stands
• 4% personal traits
• 3% leadership/ experience
▪ Learning values & orientations that help individuals fit in their social
• Present specific facts & general values that provide individuals
with behavioral models
o ^ especially young people as their attitudes & beliefs are
not as firmly established
• Mass media information provide ingredients that people use to
adjust existing attitudes & worldviews
▪ Also responsible for resocialization: the restructuring of basic attitudes
▪ Tone of Presidential Nominees from 1960-2016:
• Negative tone has increased from 24% to 71&
• Positive tone has decreased from 76% to 29%
o 4. Manipulation
▪ Investigation is the most common way for journalists to break out of the
role of political bystander
• They can explore misconduct & promote reforms
▪ Old tradition from Muckrakers from 20th Century • Journalists who investigate wrongdoing to stimulate government to
clean up the “dirt” they have exposed (government has no
incentive to expose themselves)
• This the watch-dog role of news media
▪ Manipulation includes sensationalization of news & information in order
to boost public attention, ratings, & profit
▪ Contemporary Era • Leads to perceptions of media bias (later) & “fake news”?
o How much political information should a citizen/ voter have? What sort of
▪ We need some political knowledge for democracy to function properly
Monday, November 11th
Section 2, Lesson 3:
A Choice or an Echo? Partisanship & Performance, Cont’d.
▪ Friday November, 15th!
▪ Starting next Wednesday, November 20th!
o Presidential Elections:
▪ You can basically predict the outcome of presidential elections just based
on how the economy is doing
o Main Characteristics:
▪ Two competitive political parties
▪ Few third party/ independents
• Exception: Minnesota
o Democratic Farmer-Labor Party associated with
o Party Control:
▪ Historically favors Democrats since the New Deal Era
• Civil War Era to New Deal Republicans had control
▪ Potential for major shifts is more likely in the Senate than in the House
• Recent polarization within both since the 1990’s
o Recent Trend:
▪ Slim Republican majority
• Democrats normally win “big” or by a clear majority, but when
Republicans win it is normally by a small margin
Features Influencing Congressional Election Outcomes
o Incumbency Advantage:
▪ Current officeholders tend to win subsequent election, especially in the
• New candidates need nearly 60% to win
▪ Advantage is less for the Senate & even less for the governor
• ^ Blame is more spread out in House than in more direct leaders
▪ ACGR Table 9.1 (p. 247-8)
▪ Consistently over 90% of House incumbents get reelected
• & successful incumbents typically win by relatively high margins
o Regional Components:
▪ South shift from Democrats to Republicans
• Not as solid as it used to be, but still heavily Republican
▪ Northeast & Pacific Democrats
• Less successful Republicans
▪ Rural Republicans
• Consistently conservative-voting states
▪ Upper Midwest Democrats
Trump was able to turn a lot of these states to Republican in the
• # of seats being assigned to each state is influential in elections
▪ (Re)Districting/ Gerrymandering:
• States legislatures are in charge of redrawing states
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