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California Voter Participation Survey

Cross-Tabulation Summary Report

Other Subgroups

Spanish Speakers

For this analysis, Spanish speakers are defined as those respondents who were given the survey in Spanish. The analysis is only done for infrequent voters because very few nonvoters were given the survey in Spanish. 

Infrequent voters

Spanish-speaking respondents are less likely to say that California is moving in the right direction (24% compared to 51% of non-Spanish speakers).  19% say that they do not feel that the U.S. is their home (compared to 6% of other infrequent voters).  Almost half of Spanish speakers say that there is no one that they want to vote for, compared to only one-third of other infrequent voters.  They are more likely to say that they are making more of a statement by not voting than by voting (35% compared to 15% of other voters). 

Despite these facts, Spanish-speaking infrequent voters are more likely to say that voting is very or extremely important to them (89% compared to 76% of non-Spanish speakers).  100% say that voting lets you choose who represents you compared to 88% of other infrequent voters. Spanish speakers are less likely than other voters to say that politics are controlled by special interests (49% compared to 67% of other infrequent voters).

Information is a barrier to Spanish-speaking infrequent voters.  Spanish speakers are less likely to say that getting the information they need to make their decision is easy (63% compared to 78% of others).  Still, nearly two-thirds, 63%, say that it is easy to get materials in their preferred language.  41% of Spanish speakers say that it is too hard to get the information necessary to make a voting decision, compared to only 24% of other infrequent voters. 

Spanish speakers are less likely to talk about political issues with their friends and family.  They are less likely to say that their family votes in most or all elections (70% compared to 83% of other infrequent voters).  Only half of Spanish speakers say that their families talked about politics while they were growing up (compared to 60% of other infrequent voters).  Two-thirds say that their friends hardly ever talk about politics (compared to half of other infrequent voters).

The voting process itself is also more of a barrier for Spanish speakers compared to other infrequent voters.  27% say that it is too hard to figure out where to vote (compared to 10% of other infrequent voters).  80% say that voting at their polling place is easy, compared to 91% of other infrequent voters.  22% say that they are not comfortable in their polling place (compared to 6% of other infrequent voters).  40% say that they do not have access to voting materials in their own language (compared to 9% of other infrequent voters).  22% say that poll workers are unfriendly and unhelpful (5% of other infrequent voters).  29% say that say that voting equipment is difficult to use (8% of others), and 19% agree that voting is an isolating and lonely experience (7% of others). 

Spanish speakers are more likely to say that endorsements, advertisements, and media in another language are influential in their voting decision.  Spanish speakers are likely to find these sources of information more influential than infrequent voters in general.  46% say that endorsements from public figures are influential (35% of other infrequent voters).  54% say endorsements from community groups are influential (40% of other infrequent voters).  46% say that mailings from campaigns are influential (33% of other infrequent voters), while 56% say that TV ads from campaigns are influential (37% of other infrequent voters).  54% say that radio ads are influential (31% of other infrequent voters), and 79% say that media in another language is influential, compared to 17% of other infrequent voters.

Spanish speakers are less likely to say that network news is influential (51% compared to 65% of other infrequent voters).  They are even less influenced by cable TV news (44% compared to 61% of other infrequent voters).  Local newspapers in English are also not as important for Spanish speakers (42% compared to 66% of other infrequent voters).

New Latinos

New Latinos are defined as those people who identify themselves as Latino and were not born in the United States.

Nonvoters

New Latino nonvoters are less likely to agree that California is moving in the right direction (33% compared to 42% of other nonvoters).  81% of new Latino nonvoters say that voting is an important part of being a good citizen, compared to 71% of other groups.  They are less likely to say that their votes don’t make a difference (28% compared to 40% of other nonvoters). 

Overall, information seems to be the primary barrier to voting for new Latino nonvoters.  Over a quarter of new Latinos say that they do not have access to voting materials in their preferred language (10% of others).  They are more likely to say that it is too hard to get the information necessary to make voting decisions (43% compared to 32% of other groups). They are also more likely to say that it is too hard to sift through all of the information to make good decisions about voting (62% compared to half of other groups).  Finally, new Latino nonvoters are more likely to say that the issues are too confusing (56% compared to 46% of other groups). 

Over 60% of new Latino nonvoters say that they are too busy with family and work to vote (61% compared to 44% of other groups).  More than other groups, they say that finding the necessary information is why they are too busy to vote (23% compared to 10% of other groups). 

When asked what the primary concern they have about information is, 19% of new Latino nonvoters (11% of other groups) say that information for voting is unavailable. 42% say that it is difficult to understand (39% of others).  New Latino nonvoters are less likely to say that the information is untrustworthy (34% compared to 40% of other groups). 

Voting itself is also a barrier for new Latino nonvoters. They are more likely to say that voting equipment is difficult to use (19% compared to 12% of other groups).  They are also more likely to say that poll workers are unfriendly or unhelpful (19% compared to just 10% of other groups).  They are much more likely to agree that there are too many things on the ballot (57% compared to 41% of other groups). Overall, they are also more likely to say that voting is an isolating and lonely experience (22% compared to 12% of other groups).

New Latinos are less likely to have been registered to vote before (26% compared to 48% of others), and they are twice as likely as other groups to say that they would vote if Election Day were a holiday (20% compared to 10% of other groups).

Infrequent voters

Although new Latino infrequent voters have some similar voting attitudes to Latino nonvoters, infrequent voters seem to trust the system less, are less immersed in a pro-voting culture, and appear more cynical toward the voting system in general when compared to other groups of infrequent voters.  Only 34% of new Latino infrequent voters say that California is moving in the right direction (52% of other infrequent voters).

38% of new Latino infrequent voters say that they are not interested in politics (28% of other groups).  New Latino infrequent voters are less likely to say that their family votes in most or all elections (72% compared to 84% of others).  They are also less likely to say that their family discussed political issues and candidates while growing up (50% compared to 61% of other infrequent voters). Fewer new Latino infrequent voters say that their friends vote in all or most elections (54% compared to 65% of other infrequent voters).  New Latino infrequent voters are more likely to say that they make more of a statement by not voting than by voting (27% compared to 15% of other groups).  They are also more likely to say that none of the candidates really speak to them (59% compared to 47% of other groups). 

New Latino infrequent voters find voting materials less available than other groups and are more likely to distrust the information that is available.  71% of new Latino infrequent voters say that it is easy to get the information necessary to vote (78% of other infrequent voters).  They are less likely to say that it is easy to get voting materials in their preferred language, and 22% say that they do not have any access to information in their preferred language (9% of other groups).  More than other groups, new Latino infrequent voters say that they do not trust any of the election information that is available (32% compared to 23% of other infrequent voters).

New Latino infrequent voters have more difficulty with the voting process itself.  17% say that the voting equipment is difficult to use (8% of other infrequent voters).  They are more likely to say that the poll workers are unfriendly or unhelpful (13% compared to just 5% of other infrequent voters). 51% say that there are just too many things on the ballot (35% of other infrequent voters). 

New Latinos are more likely to say that the following are influential: endorsements from public figures (46% compared to 34% of others); endorsements from community groups (52% compared to 40% of others); mail from political campaigns (48% to 31% of other groups); phone calls from political campaigns (29% to 19% of other groups); volunteers at their door from a campaign (31% to 20% of others); TV ads from a political campaign (55% to 36% of other groups); radio ads from a political campaign (50% to 20% of other groups); and media in a language other than English (59% to 15% of other groups).  They are less influenced by conversations with friends (51% of new Latinos compared to 60% of other groups). 

Established Latinos

Established Latinos are self-identified Latino respondents who were born in the U.S. and whose parents were born in the U.S.

Nonvoters

Overall, established Latinos have opinions about voting that are very similar to the rest of the population.  There are few significant differences between established Latinos and other groups of nonvoters.  Established Latinos are less likely to say that their friends vote in all or most elections (55% compared to 63% of other nonvoters). They are less likely to say that it is too hard to sift through all the information available to make good decisions on how to vote (39% compared to 53% of others).

Infrequent voters

Established Latino infrequent voters are quite similar to other infrequent voters.  They are slightly less likely to say that it is easy to register to vote (92% compared to 96% of all infrequent voters).  They are more likely to say that they discussed political issues and candidates with their families while growing up (64% compared to 59% of other voters).  They are less likely to say that candidates don’t speak to them (only 31% agree compared to 50% of other infrequent voters).  They are more likely to say that they don’t believe their vote will be counted accurately (35% compared to 22% of other infrequent voters).  They are twice as likely as other groups to say that voting equipment is difficult to use (18% compared to 9% of other infrequent groups). Finally, they are more likely to say that media in a language other than English is influential in their voting decision (32% compared to 19% of other groups). 

Younger People

Younger voters are those voters who are 25 years old and younger.

Nonvoters

Younger nonvoters have a less cynical opinion of voting than older nonvoters.  Younger nonvoters are more likely to say that voting is an important way to voice their opinion (88% compared to 78% of older nonvoters). They are less likely to say that politics are controlled by special interests (60% compared to 74% of older nonvoters).  However, they are much less likely than older nonvoters to discuss politics with their families (37% compared to 56% of older nonvoters) and much more likely to say that they are too busy to vote (56% compared to 43% of older nonvoters). 

Younger nonvoters have less trouble sorting through information and issues.  They are less likely to say that information is hard to sift through (44% compared to 56% of older nonvoters). Younger nonvoters are less likely to say that the issues are too confusing (38% compared to 53% of older nonvoters). 

Younger nonvoters are much less likely to have ever been registered or to have attempted to register to vote.  They are less likely to have ever filled out a voter registration form (25% compared to 34% of older nonvoters).  Less than a quarter of younger nonvoters has ever been registered to vote (compared to 55% of older nonvoters).

Infrequent Voters

Younger infrequent voters are similar to older infrequent voters.  However, there are some significant differences.  They are less likely to say that their friends vote in most or all elections (50% compared to 68% of older infrequent voters).  Younger voters are more likely to say that they are too busy to vote (53% compared to 40% of older voters). 

Younger infrequent voters are more influenced by personal contact from campaigns, TV ads, the Internet, and media in another language.  They are more likely to say that a phone call from a political campaign is influential (27% compared to 19% of older voters), as is a volunteer at their door (28% compared to 20% of older voters).  TV ads are more influential for them than for older infrequent voters (47% and 35% respectively).  Younger infrequent voters are more influenced by the Internet (54% compared to 37% of older infrequent voters).  They are also more likely to say that media in another language is influential (26% compared to 19% of older voters).

Less-Educated

The following section compares nonvoters and infrequent voters with a high school education or less to more highly-educated nonvoters and infrequent voters. 

Nonvoters

Overall, less-educated nonvoters know less about the voting process and are less likely to have ever been registered. They are much less likely to say that their friends vote in most or all elections (40% compared to 57% of more educated nonvoters). 

Less-educated nonvoters are less likely to know about the actual voting process.  They are also less likely to have ever been registered (36% compared to 50% of higher-educated nonvoters), and fewer know where to find voter registration forms (63% compared to 72%). Less-educated nonvoters are less likely to know if they are comfortable in their polling place (30% don’t know compared to 20% of more-educated) and are less likely to know whether voting equipment is easy to use (32% don’t know compared to 23% of more-educated nonvoters).  In addition to less knowledge about the voting process, they are more likely to say that they don’t believe that their votes will be counted accurately (44% compared to 34% of more educated nonvoters). 

When asked why they are too busy to vote, less-educated nonvoters were more likely to say that they had no childcare (15% compared to 5% of more educated) and were less likely to say that voting itself takes too much time (13% compared to 28% of more educated). 

Infrequent voters

Overall, less-educated infrequent voters rely heavily on campaign information and mass media for making their voting decisions.  They are not as involved in a pro-voting culture as more educated infrequent voters and find the issues more confusing.

Less-educated infrequent voters are not as likely to have discussed political issues and candidates with their families while growing up (53% compared to 61% of more educated).  They are more likely to say that their friends hardly ever talk about politics (61% compared to 46% of more educated) and are less likely to say that conversations with friends are influential when making voting decisions (49% compared to 62% of all).

Less-educated infrequent voters are less likely to say that reading and understanding the voter information pamphlet is easy (70% compared to 80% of more educated infrequent voters).  They are more likely to say that the issues are too confusing (49% compared to 40% of more educated infrequent voters). 

Less-educated voters rely more heavily on campaign information and media sources for making decisions about voting.  43% say that say that mail from a political campaign is influential (31% of more educated).  28% say a phone call from a campaign is influential compared to 19% of more-educated infrequent voters and the same is true for a campaign volunteer at their door.  They are more likely to say that TV ads are influential (47% compared to 35%).  31% say that media in another language is influential (compared to 17% of more educated voters).  Less-educated voters are less likely to say that the Internet is influential (31% compared to 44% of more-educated voters). 

Renters

For this analysis, we compare renters to homeowners. 

Nonvoters

Overall, renters are fairly similar to homeowners.  Renters are somewhat more likely than homeowners to say that they are interested in politics and follow it in the news when they have the chance (65% compared to 57% of homeowners).  They are less likely to say that there are too many things on the ballot (40% compared to 50% of homeowners).  Renters are less likely to say that their friends vote in most or all elections (46% compared to 61% of homeowners) and less likely to say that poll workers are friendly (56% compared to 65% of homeowners). 

They are more likely to agree that voting is an isolating and lonely experience (15% compared to 9% of homeowners). 

Renters are more likely to say that they are too busy with work or family to vote (51% compared to 41% of homeowners).  They are almost twice as likely to say that they move around so frequently that it is difficult to stay registered (30% compared to 16% of homeowners).

Infrequent voters

Renting and homeowning infrequent voters are also similar.  Although most renters say that it is easy to get the information necessary to make their voting decision, they are less likely to say getting information is easy when compared to homeowners (73% compared to 81%). Renters are less likely to say that it is easy to vote by absentee ballot (36% compared to 45% of homeowners).  Renters are more influenced by the Internet than homeowners (45% compared to 35% of homeowners). 

Singles

Nonvoters

Single nonvoters and married nonvoters are quite similar.  Single nonvoters are less likely to be encumbered by lack of childcare and are less likely to have friends who vote in all or most elections (45% compared to 57% of married nonvoters).  Most single nonvoters believe their vote will be counted accurately (66%); however married nonvoters are more likely to say that their votes are counted accurately (75%).  Single nonvoters are less likely to say that they have been registered before (39% compared to 53% of married nonvoters).

Infrequent voters

There is even less of a difference between married and single infrequent voters.  Single infrequent voters are less likely to say that getting information to make their voting decisions is easy (74% compared to 80% of married infrequent voters).  They are less likely to say that their friends vote in most or all elections (58% compared to 68% of married voters).  They are more likely to cite job hours as a reason they are too busy to vote (49% compared to 36% of married infrequent voters).  Singles are less likely to say that conversations with their family are influential (61% compared to 70% of married infrequent voters). 

Low-Income

Low-income nonvoters and infrequent voters are defined as those voters who earn less than $25,000 a year.

Nonvoters

In general, low-income nonvoters have less involvement with a pro-voting culture and the voting process.  Only 34% of low-income nonvoters have ever been registered to vote (compared to 53% of higher-income nonvoters). Low-income nonvoters are less likely to say that their family votes in all or most elections (59% compared to 67%) and are much less likely to say that their friends vote in most or all elections (41% compared to 58% of higher-income nonvoters).  Low-income nonvoters are more likely to say that their friends hardly ever talk about politics (65% to 57%). 

Overall, low-income nonvoters are less likely to trust that the voting process is fair and are less likely to think that their vote matters.  They are less likely to say that their votes will be counted accurately (65% compared to 73% of higher-income nonvoters), less likely to say that voting lets you choose who represents you in government (68% to 76% of higher-income nonvoters), and less likely to say that their vote makes a difference in the outcome of the election (58% to 65% of higher-income nonvoters).  Many do not trust any of the election information available (41% to 32% of higher-income nonvoters).

Infrequent Voters

In general, low-income voters are similar to other infrequent voters. Differences lie in voting culture, in finding information, and in the voting process itself.

Low-income voters have a more difficult time getting information to make their decisions.  Only 68% say that getting the information necessary to make your voting decision is easy, compared to 82% of higher-income infrequent voters. They are also less likely to say that voting at their polling place is easy (84% compared to 92% of higher-income infrequent voters). 

Fewer low-income voters say that their families discussed political issues and candidates while growing up (54% compared to 62%). They are less likely to say that their friends vote in all or most elections (55% compared to 67% of all infrequent voters).  They are also less likely to say that endorsements from community groups are influential (34% compared to 45% of higher-income voters).  Over a fifth say that they make more of a statement by not voting compared to only 14% of higher-income infrequent voters.

Women and Men

Nonvoters

Overall, women and men nonvoters are very similar. Only one variable shows a marked difference.  Women are more likely than men to say that the issues are too confusing (52% compared to 43% of nonvoting males).

Infrequent Voters 

Infrequently-voting men and women have more differences than nonvoting men and women but are also fairly similar overall.

Of men and women who say that they are too busy to vote, men are more likely to say that they work too many hours (49% compared to 37% of women).  Women are more likely to say that not having childcare makes them too busy (12% compared to 2% of men).

Women are more likely to admit to having difficulty analyzing information that is available when voting.  Women are more likely to say that it is too hard to sift through information available to make a good decision on how to vote (49% compared to 39% of men).  They are more likely to say that the issues are too confusing (47% compared to only 35% of men). Women are also more likely to agree that there are too many things on the ballot (41% compared to 32% of men). 

When asked whether information is unavailable, hard to understand, or untrustworthy, 55% of women say that it is hard to understand (42% of men), 7% of men think it is unavailable (compared to 13% of women), and 27% of women think information is untrustworthy compared to 31% of men.

 

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This page was first published on April 7, 2005 | Last updated on January 27, 2006
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