Social Demographics and Election Statistics

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Step 1 Students will use data from the National Election Studies. Have students open an Excel spreadsheets with the data on presidential elections. This will load in your browser as an Excel file if you are using Internet Explorer 4.0.

All numbers are percentages of the total number of votes cast by people in the demographic category. For example, in the 1952 election fifty-one percent of grade school educated voters voted for Eisenhower (R) and forty-nine percent of grade school educated voters voted for Stevenson (D).

Step 2 Next, students should calculate the following averages.

How to calculate averages

Step 3 Next, have students create a chart (graph) that answers the following question.

How to make a simple Excel chart (use the data on sheet 1):

The chart students make will not indicate the election year on the x axis. This can be entered manually. There are numerous display options for the data. Encourage students to experiment. For example, place the pointer on one of the bars, double click. In the window, click the series order tab. Rearrange the series (election years by party) so that the odd numbers and the even numbers are separate. This will display the elections results by party next to each other on the graph.

Step 4 Using the student created spreadsheet and chart, describe and explain African American voting patterns between 1952 and 1976.

Step 5 Repeat the steps for making a graph for other demographic comparisons such as, the percentage of votes cast by people living in urban areas for Democratic candidates for president from 1952 - 1976.


Center for Technology and Teacher Education, University of Virginia, This module was created by John K. Lee University of Virginia