Bias in Voter Turnout and State Welfare Chapter

Excerpt from Chapter :

Bias in Voter Turnout and State Welfare Changes

The authors of the article are predominantly concerned with the welfare policies that were passed after 1996 when the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) was signed into law. Centrally, the article highlights the influences that the class bias in the voter turn-out had on the welfare changes especially in state welfare policies since the passing and signing into effect the TANF.

The widely held position that the low voter turn out in the disenfranchised sections of the population like the minority and the economically week regions contributes to the bad policies that have been passed since 1996 is the basic question the authors discuss. They try to evaluate and see whether it is true that the lower voter turn out in such regions as mentioned above do directly contribute to bad policies that do not care for the poor in the society or whether this position is a great misconception.

In their discussion of the above phenomena, they highlight the previous studies that were conducted by other scholars like Fellowes and Rowe (2004), Gilens (1999), Mettler (2000), Cloward (2000) and Highton (1997) among others. They also look at various Acts such as the PROWRA, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) among other policies that were passed.

Apparently, there are some conclusions that having looked at those policies, the authors concluded that the findings by other researches like Soss who indicated that there was no effect that the low voter turn out among the lower-class had on the state welfare restrictions, indeed they find this as premature. On top of this finding, they add that the rate at which the lower-class vote relative to the upper-class too influences the welfare policy, since the upper-class and the Lower-class are expected to have sharply differing perspectives on the social welfare policies.

The authors are however quick to indicate that it is not just the voting patterns that affect the social welfare policy status but there are socioeconomic forces and political factors that also played part in shaping up the social welfare after the TANF. The ethnic as well as racial makeup of the states influenced state of the welfare policies with the state that had a large number of African-Americans and Hispanics had a higher likelihood to pas the restrictiveness of the welfare eligibility. The authors further indicate that the states which recorded low rates of unemployment had a higher possibility of adopting work requirements that were stricter as compared to state that had low unemployment rates. They also note that the states that had stronger economic base adopted more lenient policies for the welfare needs of the poor.

The hypothesis of the authors therefore is that despite there being other factors that influence the state welfare policy choices especially after the implementation of TANF, the most significant is the class bias in turnout. The authors used data from various states and the subsequent policy adoption to show the variance in the state welfare policy acceptance and the voter turnout from either class. The above information was extracted from data that indicated three major aspects in line with the need to asses the welfare reforms under the TANF, first was the data on whether a state required stricter work requirements for recipients or adopted the federal…

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