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Foreclosures & Voter Turnout

Martin Johnson, Ph.D., UC Riverside
Jan 17, 2013 from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM (America/Los_Angeles / UTC-800)
1130 K Street, Room LL3
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This research investigates whether voters in communities with high rates of foreclosure will find it more difficult to participate in elections, given social disruptions associated with home loss in their neighborhoods. Specifically, we estimate the community-level effects of foreclosure on turnout rates in California ZIP Codes during the 2008 Presidential Election and an individual-level turnout model, using housing data merged with California voter data. We find that foreclosure rates are associated with reduced participation independent of local economic conditions, rates of education, ethnic composition, or individual partisanship, age, and habitual participation. Given the relationship between the foreclosure crisis and political participation, this research suggests the need for further investigation. We are especially interested in the potential that housing foreclosure further exacerbates ethnic and economic inequality due to the preponderance of subprime loans, distressed mortgages, and foreclosures in communities of color and lower socio-economic status.

Martin Johnson is Associate Professor and Chair of the Political Science department at UC Riverside.  He is also the President of the Southwestern Political Science Association.  His research and teaching focuses on public opinion and public policy in the U.S.  He is particularly interested in the role media play in how people develop opinions on issues of the day.  He has recently completed a book "Changing Minds or Changing Channels? Partisan News in an Age of Choice," with Kevin Arceneaux, available next year from University of Chicago Press.  Johnson earned his Ph.D. in Political Science from Rice University and he studied journalism as an undergraduate at Louisiana State University.

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