MURAL - Maynooth University Research Archive Library

    Changing geographies of voter turnout: Michigan and the urban/rural divide

    Durkan, William (2022) Changing geographies of voter turnout: Michigan and the urban/rural divide. Political Geography, 93. p. 1024409. ISSN 0962-6298

    Download (6MB) | Preview

    Share your research

    Twitter Facebook LinkedIn GooglePlus Email more...

    Add this article to your Mendeley library


    Voter turnout is a key measure of the legitimacy of any given democracy. A government elected in a high-turnout contest has a strong mandate from the state's citizens to make key decisions on their behalf. Low turnout raises questions about why citizens have chosen not to participate in the decision-making process, and about the representativeness of the elected government. Often, changes in levels of engagement and in the geography of participation are relatively small, but they may be decisive in key competitive elections. Using the state of Michigan as a case study, this brief commentary considers the changing geographies of participation in U.S. Presidential elections from 2012 to 2020. In Michigan, a notable voter-turnout upsurge in what traditionally had been low-turnout rural areas had a significant bearing on the victory of Donald Trump in 2016. This upsurge in rural support for Trump continued in the 2020 contest but was counteracted by a more positive (though not overwhelming) level of turnout in urban centres. After explaining these trends, this commentary briefly compares the case of Michigan with the Republic of Ireland in general elections from 2007 to 2016 to highlight the importance of urban-rural distinctions in competitive electoral settings.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Electoral Geography; Politics; Voter Turnout; US Presidential Election;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Geography
    Item ID: 16783
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: William Durkan
    Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2023 12:03
    Journal or Publication Title: Political Geography
    Publisher: Elsevier
    Refereed: No
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

    Repository Staff Only(login required)

    View Item Item control page


    Downloads per month over past year

    Origin of downloads