POSC 149 Lab 2

Exploring county-level election returns

Instructor: Sono Shah

2017-08-15

Introduction

A critical part of any campaign strategy is the ability to quickly identify parts of the electorate that fall into one of three major groups: the candidate’s base, opponent’s base, and the undecided.1 See textbook chapter p.122 In today’s lab you will be acting as a campaign strategiest, developing vote targets for counties in California.

In each part, you will be given a set of data that you will use to estimate the number of votes Clinton and Trump recieved in the 2016 Presidential Election. In each part, you will encounter a different set of counties with different types of available data. You will have to decide how you will develop vote targets given the set of data in each part, use what you know about voter participation, and the readings in lecture to help inform your logic

Part I: Voter Targets

Variable Name Description
county County Name
total_eligible Total number of people eligible to vote
total_registered Total number of people registered to vote
total_voted Total number of people who voted
prop_democrat Proportion Registered as Democrat
prop_republican Proportion Registered as Republican
prop_no_party Proportion Registered as No Preference
votes_needed Number of votes needed to win county

Using the dataset county_dta_part1, answer the following questions:

  1. In the following section make a new variable for each part
  1. Answer each part in 1-3 sentences:

Part II: Voter Targets

Variable Name Description
county County Name
total_eligible Total number of people eligible to vote

In some cases, the data that you see in Part I won’t be available or will be missing. When this happens, campaigns must use other sources of information or proxies to develop your vote targets.5 Example: Using your overall GPA to guess your grade for specific class.

Using the dataset county_dta_part2, answer the questions below. In this dataset, you only have total_eligible or the number of eligible voters in each county. Use the state data below to help make your targets and answer the questions.

California Statewide Voter Information

California Voter Information.

Registered (of eligible pop.) Turnout (of registered pop.)
78% 75%

California Registration Information.

Registered Democrat Registered Republican Registered Other
45% 26% 29%
  1. In the following section make a new variable for each part: HINT: There is more than one way to do this. You can try creating the missing variables that you had in Part I, or you can make some assumptions using only the data you have.
  1. Answer each part in 1-3 sentences:

Part III: Voter Targets

Variable Name Description
county County Name
total_voted Total number of people who voted
prop_nonwhite Proportion Non-White Population
median_income Median Income
prop_never_married Proportion Never Married

Similar to part II you will have to use some or all of the available information to develop vote targets. Think about the data available, and how that might relate to vote choice.9 See chapter on voter choice in textbook, p.371

Using the dataset county_dta_part3, answer the following questions:

  1. In the following section make a new variable for each part
  1. Answer each part in 1-3 sentences: