A Statistical History of the American Electorate adds a new, never explored dimension to study of the nation's political system. Rusk has examined thousands of pieces of information and masses of historical and contemporary numerical data on elections to draw a new picture of our evolving voting ways and byways. His book adds immeasurably to the abundant literature about actual results and voting returns from specific elections by gathering data over time - 200 years - and casting it into historical patterns. The material in each of his eight chapters is introduced with an essay that explains the data and its importance, and sets it all in context.
- Election Laws and Suffrage. Lists and dates election laws that define the eligible electorate. Describes qualifications such as property owner-ship, paying taxes, residency, sex, literacy, and many more. Also discusses popular electoral participation such as the initiative and referendum.
- Voting Participation. Lists three forms of voting participation - turnout, mobilization, and eligibility - as percentage values by the nation, region, and state. This analysis casts light on voter activity as well as the portion of citizens entitled (or barred) from participating at different times in U.S. history.
- Presidential, House, Senate, and Gubernatorial Voting. These four chapters show partisan vote percentages at the national, regional, and state level for Democratic, Republican, and Other categories and the Democratic percent of the major two-party vote. The author uses conventional designations of political parties as well as newly designed alternative descriptions that give a more accurate reflection of the partisan nature of each state. Measures of Voting Behavior. Using data from the other chapters, Rusk shows over 200 years of party competition, partisan swing, split-ticket voting, partisan strength and many other dimensions of the electoral system.