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Voting and Registration in the Election of November 1978

Report Number P20-344


Less than half of the civilian noninstitutional population of voting age actually voted in the November 1978 Congressional election, according to information reported in the Current Population Survey (CPS) conducted by the Bureau of the Census in November 1978. The reported turnout in 1978 (46 percent) was close to the turnout reported in the 1974 Congressional election (45 percent), but substantially below that reported in the Presidential election of 1976 (59 percent).

Results of the Current Population Surveys of voting and registration over the past decade and a half almost invariably show higher voting rates for the middle to upper income, occupational, and educational groups whose members are old enough to have families and to be settled in their communities. Taken together, the factors of community attachment (approximated in this report by homeownership and duration of residence), family status, socioeconomic status, and age seem more predictive of voter turnout than any other variables identified in the CPS. While overall White voting rates appear to be considerably higher than Black rates, analyses of previous CPS results show that racial differences in voter turnout are largely a product of socioeconomic and age differences.1

Some important findings resulting from the November 1978 survey of registration and voting are:

  • Homeowners are twice as likely to vote as renters–59 percent and 28 percent, respectively.
  • Persons who have lived in the same house for a long time are more likely to vote than persons who have recently moved.
  • Married couples maintaining families are more likely to vote than other relatives living in their households, and twice as likely as nonrelatives.
  • College graduates are more than twice as likely to vote as persons who did not complete elementary school–64 percent and 29 percent, respectively.
  • White-collar workers are more likely to vote than persons in other occupation groups.
  • Persons 65 years and over are nearly three times as likely to vote (56 percent) as persons 18 to 20 years old (20 percent).

1 U.S. Bureau of the Census, Currant Population Reports, Series P-20, No. 322, "Voting and Registration in the Election of November 1976."


Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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