Objective. This study examines the links among income inequality, voter turnout, and electoral choice at the state level in recent presidential elections.
Methods. We introduce two new state-level ecological data sets, estimated annual Gini coefficients of income inequality from 1969 to 2004 and a measure of income segregation across Census tracts within states in 1999. We test for associations among inequality, turnout, and party preference with cross-sectional, fixed-effects, and multilevel analyses.
Results. The cross-sectional effect of inequality on voter turnout and electoral choice is ambiguous. However, a fixed-effects analysis links higher income inequality to lower voter turnout and also to a stronger Democratic vote. Multilevel results indicate that higher levels of economic segregation likewise are associated with depressed turnout, after controlling for individual voter characteristics and for state-level income.