Issue Voting and the American Electorate: The Special Case of Fear of Crime

Amy Bunger, Florida State University
Marc Gertz, Florida State University
Abbe Justus, Florida State University
Tara O'Connor Shelley, Florida State University

We examine the linkages between perceptions of crime and voting, providing what we believe to be first use of fear of crime as an independent variable on predicting the vote. Fear of crime, and perceptions of crime as an important problem facing the country and/or the county are tested for an impact on whether, and for whom, one votes. We look specifically at citizens in Leon County, FL, who were eligible to vote in the presential election of 1996. Using logistic regression, we found that fear of crime does not predict whether, nor for whom, one votes. Our data comport with all standard expectations for voting and demographic variables and indicate that fear of crime is not significant in predicting electoral behavior.

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Updated 05/20/2006