Exercise 2. Marital Status and the Congressional Vote

  1. Voting behavior is related to several demographic or social characteristics. In this exercise, we examine the relationship of one such characteristic, marital status, to the congressional vote. To examine this relationship for 2012, you should generate a table that shows the relationship between the individual's marital status (R08) and his or her vote in the U.S. House elections (A03).

  2. Table 2A must be interpreted somewhat differently than Table 1A. In looking for a relationship between party identification and presidential vote in Table 1A, we looked for a pattern of decreased support for Obama as we went from left to right in the table. However, in looking for a relationship between marital status and vote in Table 2A, we should simply look for differences between the columns, not necessarily a pattern of increasing support for one candidate as we go from one end of the table to the other. That is because party identification is an ordinal variable, whereas marital status is a nominal variable. You need to recognize whether you have ordinal or nominal variables in your analysis; the distinction is discussed in the section on data analysis.

  3. We might wish to create a simpler version of Table 2A by recoding marital status.

    General information about why it can be desirable to recode variables is in the section on principles of data analysis.

    Helpful hints on using SDA to recode variables.

  4. Generate a new, simpler table (Table 2B) by using a recoded version of marital status, as discussed above. Also, recode the congressional vote to eliminate minor party voters (just as you did in Exercise 1 with the presidential vote), which will simplify your dependent variable. Compare Table 2B to Table 2A.

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