Elections and Wrestlers, Notes II

John Heppen and I are still reflecting on “Where Has the Jesse Voter Gone?” by Andrew Grossbach, Rusty Kath, Alicia Spencer, & Danielle Stuard”

Our first task was to find out who voted in the 1998 election. We narrowed our data field to incorporate solely those individuals who had the potential to vote for Jesse Ventura. Of the 337 respondents to our 2002 election exit polling, 147 were eligible to vote in the 1998 election.5 We recorded data and split it into two groups: “Voted for Ventura” and “Did not vote for Ventura” to highlight the differences between the two.

So good, so far.  A baseline for how they are building their model for “the Ventura voter.”

The Ventura voter, it turns out, looks like the Trump voter in some key ways.

Our results indicate that, in concurrence with previous literature, Ventura’s voters tended to be young and male. As table 1 indicates, men accounted for 65% of Ventura’s support. Another breakdown of Ventura voters can be seen with age. Forty-five percent of Jesse voters were under the age of 30, 77% under the age of 45. Ventura’s primary support came from individuals middle-aged or younger. Also, Ventura’s voter tended to have, at minimum, some college education. Over 80% of the Jesse voters in our sample had either graduated from or attended college. Noteworthy is Ventura’s lack of support from individuals having some graduate level education. Of the 14 respondents who claimed to have some graduate school experience, none cast their ballot for Ventura in 1998. Income level was the final area of demographic information we studied. Ventura supporters’ incomes varied widely. The highest concentration of supporters, roughly half of the respondents, had individual incomes in the $20,000-$50,000 range.

For comparison here is info about the Trump Voter.

Ventura received only 35% support by women.

Trump’s electorate was not quite as strongly male, but still very male… And so on.

Also, individuals with graduate school experience accounted for 10% of the major party vote. Ventura, as stated earlier, did not have any support from graduate educated individuals. Moreover, voters with an annual income exceeding $50,000 were more apt to vote for Humphrey or Coleman. Almost 30% of the major party votes came from those in the highest income bracket, whereas Ventura received only 16% of their support. Also noteworthy were the votes cast by people over the age of 45; they supported major party candidates 81.6% of the time, whereas Ventura received only 18.4% of the vote.

It’s as if Trump managed to get the Ventura vote, a thumb in the eye to traditional politics, and the Republican vote, manifesting traditional politics, at the same time.


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