347 Schaeffer Hall
Spring 2017 Office Hours
Tue & Th: 4:45-6:15
Dept of Political Science
341 Schaeffer Hall
20 E. Washington Street
The University of Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa 52242
Iowa Voting Series Paper 11: This paper examines early voting in Johnson County, updated with 2016 data.
Posted New book in What I'm Reading.
Iowa Voting Series Paper 8: This paper estimates the distribution of No Party votes in general elections, data now from 1982 to 2016.
Posted Book info for Fall 2017 courses.
Iowa Voting Series Paper 7
This paper looks at voter distributions by party, age group, and sex, data now from 1982 to 2016.
Iowa Voting Series Paper 6 This paper looks at absentee voting by party, age group, and sex, data now from 1988 to 2016.
Iowa Voting Series Paper 5 This paper looks at voter turnout by sex, age group, and party, data now from 1982 to 2016.
Posted Fall 2016 teaching evaluations.
I have started this page to make available a series of short papers examining voter registration and turnout statistics in Iowa. Several of the papers will rely on data from the Iowa Secretary of State's office that are regularly updated. As such, the papers relying on particular data will be updated accordingly. Below the title of each paper is an abstract for that paper. The titles are linked to pdf files for the paper. Comments are welcome, but at least for now must be sent to me via either Twitter (@ProfHagle) or my UI email address (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There are currently eleven papers in the series. Below are abstracts for each of the papers followed by a link to download a pdf of the paper.
Paper 1: An Empirical Examination of Iowa Voter Registration Statistics Since 2000 (January 2017 update)
In this short paper I take a look at Iowa’s voter registration statistics since January, 2000. One goal of the paper is to help explain why Iowa is considered a swing state. Data for the examination come from the Iowa Secretary of State website which posts monthly updates on voter registration in the state. Results show that the number of registered voters in Iowa has remained fairly stable since 2000, much like its population. Registration between the two political parties (Democrats and Republicans) has also remained quite stable and fairly equal during the period with two exceptions: a lead opened up by Republicans in 2002-2003 and a larger lead opened up by Democrats in 2008-2009. In both instances the gap closed and the two parties returned to near equality. No Party voters (what Iowa calls registered voters who do not register with either political party) were always more numerous than those for either party.
Paper 2: An Examination of Iowa Turnout Statistics Since 1982 (February 2017 update)
This is the second paper in a series examining aspects of voting in Iowa. In this paper I examine Iowa’s turnout in presidential and midterm elections since 1982. Turnout for voters registered as Democrats or Republicans is quite good, but turnout for No Party voters (Iowa’s name for independents) is much lower. Republican turnout in the period examined is always higher than that of Democrats, but with only a few exceptions the two track fairly closely. Consistent with conventional wisdom and other examinations turnout is much lower in midterm election years. The drop for Democrats is about 15.6%, for Republicans about 12.3%, but is about 23.3% for No Party voters. Despite the lower turnout of No Party voters they tend to determine the outcome of Iowa elections because of the near parity of voters in the two major parties.
Paper 3: An Examination of Iowa Turnout Statistics Since 1982 by Party and Sex (March 2017 update)
This is the third paper in a series examining aspects of voting in Iowa. In this paper I
examine Iowa’s turnout in presidential and midterm elections since 1982 with a focus
on party and sex. Looking first at registration numbers I find that women lead men in
voter registrations by an average of about 107,000 during the period. Within political
parties (Democrats, Republicans, and No Party voters) there are distinct differences in
registration. Republicans have the most even division with women leading at the
beginning of the period and then men overtaking them and opening a lead of 26,443 by
2016. Women led No Party voters throughout the period by a fairly consistent margin
averaging just under 30,000 voters. This difference was most reflective of the overall
registration difference for all Iowa voters on a percentage basis. Women also led men in
registered Democrats. The gap for Democrats was large at the start of the period at
40,030 voters and widened to nearly 104,171 by the end of the period. In terms of
turnout, the differences between men and women were relatively small. Republican
women had the highest turnout percentage for 17 of the 18 general elections during the
period. Republican men came in second in all but 1982 where they led, and 1988 and
2008. Women Democrats had a higher turnout percentage than their party’s men in
presidential elections, but the men had a slightly higher percentage in seven of the nine
midterm elections. No Party voters, men and women, had much lower turnout
percentages in both presidential and midterm elections than either Democrats or
Republicans. No Party women had a higher turnout percentage in all nine presidential
elections while men took the lead in all nine midterm elections.
Paper 4: An Examination of Iowa Turnout Statistics Since 1982 by Party and Age Group (March 2017 update)
This is the fourth paper in a series examining aspects of voting in Iowa. In this paper I examine Iowa’s turnout in presidential and midterm elections since 1982 with a focus on party and age group. Iowa’s election statistics are reported for five age groups: 18-24, 25-34, 35-49, 50-64, and 65 & Over. The difference in the age ranges covered by the groups makes direct comparisons difficult, but changes during the period examined are evident as those registered to vote move from one age group to the next. The mix of registered Democrats and Republicans remains relatively stable across age groups during the period. Most striking in terms of voter registration is how No Party registrants go from more than 50% of those in the youngest age group to only about 20% of those in the oldest group. Looking at election turnout, the data show that there is a clear progression in improved turnout as voters age. In addition, older voters are more reliable, meaning differences in turnout between midterm and presidential elections are less pronounced for older age groups. Turnout differences between Democrats and Republicans are generally small across all age groups, with Republicans nearly always having a slight advantage. Although the turnout percentage of No Party registrants also improves with age, they are always well below Democrats and Republicans.
Paper 5: An Examination of Iowa Turnout Statistics Since 1982 by Sex, Age Group, and Party (April 2017 update)
This is the fifth paper in a series examining aspects of voting in Iowa. In this paper I examine Iowa’s turnout in presidential and midterm elections since 1982 with a focus on sex, age group, and party. Results show that the percentage of registered voters who are women is quite similar among four of the five age groups at just above 50%. The percentage jumps to over 55% for the oldest age group. There are clear differences between the parties for each age group. Democrats generally had the highest percentage of women, Republicans the lowest, and No Party registrants between the two. The differences were greatest in the two youngest age groups and were more compressed in the next two. In the oldest group the percentage was nearly the same for Republicans and No Party registrants, while Democrats were still the highest. In terms of turnout, a general pattern of women having a higher turnout percentage in presidential elections and men a higher percentage in midterm elections was fairly common across parties and age groups. The turnout percentages for both men and women increased for each age group except the oldest. Republican men and women tended to have the highest turnout percentages regardless of age group, but were closely followed by men and women Democrats. Consistent with prior papers in the series, the turnout percentages for men and women No Party voters were clearly below that of voters of either major party.
Paper 6: An Examination of Iowa Absentee Voting Since 1988 (April 2017 update)
This is the sixth paper in a series examining aspects of voting in Iowa. In this paper I examine Iowa’s absentee voting in presidential and midterm elections since 2000. The results show a trend for increased absentee voting in Iowa. The trend exists for both midterm and presidential elections, though the average percentage of absentee voting in midterm elections is below the average for presidential elections. In looking at various subgroups based on party, gender, and age group we see that Democrats are more likely to vote absentee than Republicans and women more so than men. Although there are some variations among the subgroups these general trends are fairly robust. The results for age groups, however, are mixed. The emphasis placed on young voters by Democrats resulted in the 18-24 age group having the second highest percentage of absentee voting in five of the eight elections. Nevertheless, because the turnout percentage of the 18-24 group is generally low, the proportion of this group among all absentee voters is still low. The results also showed the effect of GOTV efforts on the part of the parties and campaigns. The greater emphasis on absentee voting in presidential years is evident in the greater percentage of such votes compared to midterm elections. The emphasis on both young voters (the 18-24 group) and older voters (the 65 & Over group) also appears in the results given that these two groups generally have the highest percentage of absentee voting.
Paper 7: An Examination of Iowa Voter Distribution in Elections Since 1982 (April 2017 update)
This is the seventh paper in a series examining aspects of voting in Iowa. In the second through fifth papers in this series I examined Iowa’s turnout statistics in midterm and presidential elections since 1982 in various combinations of party, sex, and age group. For the most part, these papers only examined the turnout percentages within each group or subgroup. In the sixth paper I changed focus and examined turnout in terms of absentee and early voting. In doing so I looked at the data in terms of turnout percentages for the subgroups, but also in terms of the distributions of subgroups among the voters for a particular election. Looking at voter distributions provided additional information regarding absentee voting, so in this paper I am returning to the prior analyses for an examination of the group and subgroup distributions. The results show that Republicans had a larger proportion of the voters in 11 of the 18 elections examined. Women were consistently more numerous in all 18 elections. Among the five indicated age groups, the 18-24 and 25-34 groups had the smallest proportions. For the three older groups (35-49,-50-64, and 65 & Over) the pattern was more complex, but driven largely by underlying changes in voter registration numbers. Results for combinations of sex, age group, and party are also examined.
Paper 8: An Examination of Iowa "No Party" Voter Distribution in General Elections Since 1982 (May 2017 update)
This is the eighth paper in a series examining aspects of voting in Iowa. In prior papers I examined various aspects of Iowa’s political party registration, turnout statistics, and voter distribution in midterm and presidential elections since 1982 in various combinations of party, sex, and age group. In this paper I take a closer look at the distribution of No Party votes in the 18 general elections from 1982 through 2016 and attempt to estimate their distribution between the candidates for particular contests. More specifically, I will examine the results of the nine presidential (1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, and 2016) and nine gubernatorial (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014) elections. After examining the data for those 18 contests I will turn to the 12 elections for United States Senator that occurred in Iowa during the period. The results show that the estimated distribution of No Party votes is more evenly divided in presidential elections, which is also when turnout for No Party voters is much higher. Of the 18 presidential and gubernatorial elections, two of the gubernatorial elections, 1998 and 2002, produced the largest estimated distributions for Democrats. Similarly, five of the six elections in which the Republican candidate received the majority of the estimated No Party vote were gubernatorial elections. In six of the gubernatorial elections and four of those for president the party of the candidate who won actually turned out fewer votes, but the distribution of No Party votes overcame the difference. Of the elections for US Senate seats, a combination of incumbency and weak opposition candidates seemed to be important factors for the No Party vote distribution.
Paper 9: An Examination of Iowa Voter Turnout in Primary Elections Since 2000 (updated to include 2016 data)
This is the ninth paper in a series examining aspects of voting in Iowa. In this paper I focus on the primaries ahead of the general elections from 2000 on. The data for primaries is not as complete as for general elections, so the focus will be on party turnout (Democrat and Republican) state-wide as well as within Congressional Districts. As with the prior papers in this series my focus will be on the statistics involved rather than theorizing about the reasons for particular distributions. That said, because specific electoral contests likely drive turnout in certain years (state-wide or in the Congressional Districts) I will speculate a bit more in this paper about the reasons for differences in turnout. On the whole, primary turnout in Iowa is not a generally reliable indicator of general election turnout. This is due in part to the fact that presidential candidates do not appear on presidential year primary ballots because of the Iowa Caucuses. It is no surprise that factors such as open seats, weak incumbents, or competitive primaries with quality candidates will tend to increase turnout, particularly at the Congressional District level.
Paper 10: An Examination of Iowa Absentee Ballots Requested and Returned Since 2010 (updated to include 2016 data)
This is the tenth paper in a series examining aspects of voting in Iowa. In this paper I examine the timing of absentee ballot requests and returns in general and by party. Although the statewide data are available for only four elections, the data confirm the greater effort placed on early voting in presidential elections. Nevertheless, absentee voting is increasing in midterm elections. When examining the early vote effort by party we see that Democrats do better at the early voting game, but Republicans are catching up. The fewest absentee ballot requests come from No Party voters, particularly in midterm elections, which is no surprise given their significant turnout drop in midterms. The results also show a persistent gap between the number of requested absentee ballots and the number returned. The size of this gap varies by party with Republicans having the highest return rate followed by Democrats and then No Party voters.
Paper 11: An Examination of Absentee and Early Voting in Johnson County (May 2017 release)
This is the eleventh paper in a series examining aspects of voting in Iowa. In the sixth and tenth papers in the series I examined aspects of absentee voting in Iowa as a whole. Because of the availability of more specific data, in this paper I focus on absentee voting in Johnson County. Although Johnson County is not representative of Iowa counties in general, its population size, unusual distribution of registered voters, and the fact that it is home to the University of Iowa make it an interesting case. The findings show that voters in Johnson County have been more likely to cast absentee or early votes than Iowans as a whole. In addition, despite the emphasis on in-person early voting, traditional mailed absentee ballots are still very popular. Some differences emerge between the parties regarding a preference for mailed ballots versus in-person early voting. There are also party differences in the return rate for mailed absentee ballots.