In the wake of the 2004 presidential election, supporters of Senator John Kerry’s candidacy searched for explanations of voter behavior. The Kerry campaign succeeded in turning out record numbers of low-income voters. Kerry strategists predicted that these voters would hold incumbent President George W. Bush responsible for a decline in their personal economic well-being. Kerry attempted to facilitate this electoral behavior by offering what he believed to be an economic plan attractive to low-income voters. The pocketbook theory of voting underpinned this strategy. This theory asserts that voters consider the perceived impact which an incumbent has had on their personal economic well-being when deciding to cast their vote. This paper models the 2004 presidential election to determine if voters considered their personal economic well-being when casting their vote. The results suggest that personal economic well-being was significant in determining vote choice, with lower income voters marginally more likely to cast their vote for Kerry. However, this effect was mitigated by voters’ race and gender.
"The 2004 Presidential Election: Did Voters Bring Their Pocketbooks to the Polls?,"
Undergraduate Economic Review: Vol. 2
, Article 10.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.iwu.edu/uer/vol2/iss1/10