Exercise 4: Attitude toward Bush handling of Iraq and presidential vote

  1. Another issue that might have influenced how people voted in the 2008 presidential election is the issue of the Iraq war. To examine whether attitudes on the Iraq war affected voting, we can look at a table that relates attitude on this issue to presidential vote. One question that captures people's attitudes on Iraq is whether they approved or disapproved of Bush's handling of that war (V046). We would hypothesize that those who approved of Bush's handling of the war would be more likely than those who disapproved to vote for McCain. For the reasons suggested in exercise 1, you should use the recoded version of V002 that you created for that exercise, so that you examine only the major-party vote (i.e., only the Obama and McCain voters).

  2. After examining Table 4A, you should conclude that those who approved of Bush's handling of the Iraq war had a far greater propensity to for McCain than those who disapproved. However, as we learned from Exercise 3, this does not necessarily mean that attitudes on this issue really had a significant effect on the vote. The relationship in Table 4A could be the result of the actions of an confounding variable.

  3. As in Exercise 3, party identification is a possible confounding variable, which should be examined to better understand why our independent and dependent variables are related. To do so, you need to construct a three-variable table that shows the relationship between attitude toward the Iraq war, presidential vote, and party identification. To ensure that you have a sufficient N for each column, you should recode V046 so that it has just two categories (approve and disapprove) and use the recoded version of party identification that you created for exercise one (Democrats, independents, and Republicans).