The Help America Vote Act and Election Administration: Overview and Selected Issues for the 2016 Election

The Help America Vote Act and Election Administration: Overview and Selected Issues for the 2016 Election. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Arthur L. Burris and Eric A. Fischer. October 18, 2016

The deadlocked November 2000 presidential election focused national attention on previously obscure details of election administration. Congress responded with the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA; P.L. 107-252). HAVA created the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), established a set of election administration requirements, and provided federal funding, but it did not supplant state and local control over election administration. Several issues have arisen or persisted in the years since HAVA was enacted.

[PDF format, 32 pages, 819.33 KB].

Presidential Elections: Vacancies in Major-Party Candidacies and the Position of President-Elect

Presidential Elections: Vacancies in Major-Party Candidacies and the Position of President-Elect. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. Thomas H. Neale. October 6, 2016.

What would happen in 2016 if a candidate for President or Vice President were to die or leave the ticket any time between the national party conventions and the November 8 election day? What would happen if this occurred during presidential transition, either between election day and the December 19, 2016, meeting of the electoral college; or between December 19 and the inauguration of the President and Vice President on January 20, 2017? Procedures to fill these vacancies differ depending on when they occur.

[PDF format, 12 pages, 670.71 KB].

Clinton, Trump Supporters Have Starkly Different Views of a Changing Nation

Clinton, Trump Supporters Have Starkly Different Views of a Changing Nation. Pew Research Center. August 18, 2016.

Supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump disagree on a range of policy issues, from terrorism to free trade. Yet they also have more fundamental differences over long-term changes in the country and the next generation’s future prospects. The survey finds that Trump supporters overwhelmingly believe that life in America is worse than it was 50 years ago “for people like them.” Most Clinton supporters take the opposite view: 59% say life for people like them has gotten better over the past half-century, while 19% think it has gotten worse and 18% see little change. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 76 pages, 1.27 MB].

Many Americans Hear Politics From the Pulpit

Many Americans Hear Politics From the Pulpit. Pew Research Center. August 8, 2016.

As the calendar turned from spring to summer and the political season transitioned from the primaries to the general election campaign, many American churchgoers were hearing at least some discussion of social and political issues from the pulpits at their houses of worship, the survey finds. Religious liberty and homosexuality were chief among the issues they were hearing about, with four-in-ten saying they heard from clergy on each of these topics during the spring and early summer. Roughly three-in-ten say their clergy talked about abortion, similar to the share who heard about immigration. And one-in-five churchgoers reported hearing about the environment and economic inequality. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 20 pages, 659.39 KB].

In Clinton’s March to Nomination, Many Democrats Changed Their Minds

In Clinton’s March to Nomination, Many Democrats Changed Their Minds. Pew Research Center. July 25, 2016.

Hillary Clinton led Bernie Sanders for the Democratic nomination in every survey conducted throughout the party’s primaries. But many Democratic voters vacillated in their candidate support throughout this period. Today, however, overwhelming shares of all Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters – including 90% who consistently supported Sanders for the nomination – back Clinton in the general election against Donald Trump. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 11 pages, 424.30 KB].

Evangelicals Rally to Trump, Religious ‘Nones’ Back Clinton

Evangelicals Rally to Trump, Religious ‘Nones’ Back Clinton. Pew Research Center. July 13, 2016.

Evangelical voters are rallying strongly in favor of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Despite the professed wariness toward Trump among many high-profile evangelical Christian leaders, evangelicals as a whole are, if anything, even more strongly supportive of Trump than they were of Mitt Romney at a similar point in the 2012 campaign. At that time, nearly three-quarters of white evangelical Protestant registered voters said they planned to vote for Romney, including one-quarter who “strongly” supported him. Now, fully 78% of white evangelical voters say they would vote for Trump if the election were held today, including about a third who “strongly” back his campaign. Meanwhile, religiously unaffiliated voters – those who describe their religion as “atheist,” “agnostic” or “nothing in particular” – are lining up behind Hillary Clinton over Trump, much as they supported Barack Obama over Romney in 2012. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 39 pages, 1.47 MB].

Partisanship and Political Animosity in 2016

Partisanship and Political Animosity in 2016. Pew Research Center. June 22, 2016.

The 2016 campaign is unfolding against a backdrop of intense partisan division and animosity. Partisans’ views of the opposing party are now more negative than at any point in nearly a quarter of a century. For the first time in surveys dating to 1992, majorities in both parties express not just unfavorable but very unfavorable views of the other party. And today, sizable shares of both Democrats and Republicans say the other party stirs feelings of not just frustration, but fear and anger. More than half of Democrats (55%) say the Republican Party makes them “afraid,” while 49% of Republicans say the same about the Democratic Party. Among those highly engaged in politics – those who say they vote regularly and either volunteer for or donate to campaigns – fully 70% of Democrats and 62% of Republicans say they are afraid of the other party. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 105 pages, 2.05 MB].

Funding of Presidential Nominating Conventions: An Overview

Funding of Presidential Nominating Conventions: An Overview. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress. R. Sam Garrett and Shawn Reese. May 4, 2016.

During the 113th Congress, legislation (H.R. 2019) became law (P.L. 113–94) eliminating Presidential Election Campaign Fund (PECF) funding for convention operations. The 2012 Democratic and Republican convention committees each received grants, financed with public funds, of approximately $18.2 million (for a total of approximately $36.5 million, as rounded). Barring a change in the status quo, the 2016 presidential nominating conventions will, therefore, be the first since the 1976 election cycle not supported with public funds. Changes in PECF funding for convention operations do not affect separately appropriated security funds. The 114th Congress enacted one law (P.L. 114–113) in FY2016 that affected convention security funding with the appropriation of $100 million for the Democratic and Republican nominating conventions (each was allocated $50 million). This security funding will not be provided to party convention committees but to the state and local law enforcement entities assisting in securing the convention sites. Because public funding for convention operations has now been eliminated, this report provides a historical overview of how PECF convention funding functioned and describes private funding sources that remain available.

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GOP’s Favorability Rating Edges Lower

GOP’s Favorability Rating Edges Lower. Pew Research Center. April 28, 2016.

The Republican Party’s image, already quite negative, has slipped since last fall. Currently 33% of the public has a favorable impression of the Republican Party, while 62% have an unfavorable view. Unfavorable opinions of the GOP are now as high as at any point since 1992. In October, 37% viewed the Republican Party favorably and 58% viewed it unfavorably. The decline in favorability since then has largely come among Republicans themselves: In the current survey, 68% of Republicans view their party positively, down from 79% last fall. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 11 pages, 371.01 KB].

A Wider Ideological Gap Between More and Less Educated Adults

A Wider Ideological Gap Between More and Less Educated Adults. Pew Research Center. April 26, 2016.

Two years ago, Pew Research Center found that Republicans and Democrats were more divided along ideological lines than at any point in the previous two decades. But growing ideological distance is not confined to partisanship. There are also growing ideological divisions along educational and generational lines. Highly educated adults, particularly those who have attended graduate school, are far more likely than those with less education to take predominantly liberal positions across a range of political values. And these differences have increased over the past two decades. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

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