Specific Group Study: Effects of Perceptual Economic Judgements Upon the Voting Behavior of Small Business Owner/Operators of Michigan
Jackson, Bradley D.
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Past individual-level studies of economic voting have increasingly subdivided policy-makers for the purpose of analysis. We seek to analytically subdivide the electorate to study the extent of economic voting among small business owner/operators in Michigan. Employing both past and futureoriented questions- and voting data from elections at both national and state levels of government, we study the effects of economic conditions upon the voting behavior among a specific economic group. Because fluctuation in economic conditions affect different groups in society differently and because different societal groups maintain different political traditions, it seems reasonable that such studies should pay attention to the particular relationships specific groups have with the economy and the political process. We find no evidence of economic voting occurring among the small business people of Michigan in the elections of 1982, with the possible exception of a slight relationship between past-oriented judgments of personal financial situation and voting in elections for U.S. Senate. In fact, we find evidence of opposite economic voting in all races except gubernatorial with respect to future-oriented judgments of personal financial situation. Party identification is apparently the strongest determiner in voting decisions among Michigan small business owner and operators.