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primary election

elections in which voters determine party nominees.

presidential election

elections are held in years when the president is on the ballot.

midterm election

elections held midway between presidential elections.


the proportion of the voting-age public that votes, sometimes defined as the number of registered voters that vote.

party identification

an informal and subjective affiliation with a political party that most people acquire in childhood.

candidate appeal

how voters feel about a candidate's background, personality, leadership ability, and other personal qualities.

prospective issue voting

voting based on what a candidate pledges to do in the future about an issue if elected.

retrospective issue voting

holding incumbents, usually the president's party, responsible for their records on issues, such as the economy or foreign policy.

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