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Lack of Competitive Elections

Brookings Forum on the Marketplace of Democracy: Survey Explores Voter Attitudes About Electoral Competition and American Politics

A BROOKINGS FORUM: The Marketplace of Democracy: A Groundbreaking Survey Explores Voter Attitudes About Electoral Competition and American Politics

WHEN: Friday, October 27, 2006, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

WHERE: The Brookings Institution (Falk Auditorium), 1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC

Despite the attention on the upcoming mid-term races, few elections are competitive. Electoral competition, already low at the national level, is in decline in state and primary elections as well. Reformers, who point to gerrymandering and a host of other targets for change, argue that improving competition will produce voters who are more interested in elections, better- informed on issues, and more likely to turn out to the polls.

On October 27, the Brookings Institution-in conjunction with the Cato Institute and The Pew Research Center-presents a discussion and a groundbreaking survey exploring the attitudes and opinions of voters in competitive and noncompetitive congressional districts. The survey, part of Pew’s regular polling on voter attitudes, will be conducted through the weekend of October 21. A series of questions will explore the public’s perceptions, knowledge, and opinions about electoral competitiveness.

The discussion also explores a new publication that addresses the startling lack of competition in our democratic system. The Marketplace for Democracy: Electoral Competition and American Politics (Brookings, 2006), considers the historical development, legal background, and political aspects of a system that is supposed to be responsive and accountable, yet for many is becoming stagnant, self-perpetuating, and tone-deaf. Michael McDonald, editor and Brookings visiting fellow, will moderate a discussion among co-editor John Samples, director of the Center for Representative Government at the Cato Institute, and Andrew Kohut and Scott Keeter from The Pew Research Center, who will also discuss the survey. After the program, panelists will take audience questions.

Moderator:

MICHAEL MCDONALD, Visiting Fellow, The Brookings Institution

Panelists:

JOHN SAMPLES, Director, Center for Representative Government, Cato Institute

ANDREW KOHUT, President, The Pew Research Center

SCOTT KEETER, Director of Survey Research, The Pew Research Center

RSVP: Please call the Brookings Office of Communications, 202-797-6105, or visit http://onlinepressroom.net/brookings/

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