is created by David Witten, a mathematics and computer science student at Vanderbilt University. For more information, see the "About" page.

The American Voter

The American Voter

The American Voter was a famous study conducted in 1960 that examined how people rely on their ideology to vote and what factors influence voting preference. They divided the public into four groups.


12% of people are ideologues. Those are people who think in ideological terms, connect their opinions and beliefs with broad policy positions taken by parties. They might say they're Republican because they like a small government.

Group Benefits Voters

42% of Americans were classified as group benefits voters. They mainly think of politics in terms of the groups they like or dislike. For example, they might like Republicans because "they support small business owners like me."

Nature of the Times Voters

24% of people are nature of the times voters. They vote whether the times seemed good or bad. For example, if the times seem bad, at the next election, they'll vote for another party. 

No Issue Content Voters

22% are no issue content voters, who vote solely based on the candidate's personality. So, they don't really care about the issues, just their personalities. 

The American Voter Revisited

In 2000, they updated the American Voter study, finding that 20% of the voters were ideologues, compared to 12% in 1950s. 

David Witten

Three "Heads" of a Political Party

Regional Shift