CPS or NES to study Turnout?

I have participated in one panel and sat in on two other panels on turnout at the APSA convention. There is a lot of good work being done on the topic, and my impression is that the best of this work has turned away from using sample survey data such as the NES and instead uses the CPS. Jonathan Katz tells me that the over-reporting bias in the CPS is minimal (compared with 10-20%, depending on the year, in the NES).

What’s more, the superior coverage of the CPS allows scholars to attach detailed information about election laws and campaign context. Todd Donovan and Caroline Tolbert gave a fascinating paper on campaign mobilization and turnout (hey guys! how about posting that paper!).

On my first panel, Delia Bailey presented a nice study of voter ID laws and turnout. The take away story from this paper (co-authored with Mike and Jonathan) is that voter ID laws do make a difference, but only for voters in lower socioeconomic categories.

Their final graphic makes the point best, but I’m hoping they can figure out a way to make it easier to read. The problem is that they are comparing the turnout effects across six different kinds of voter ID laws, and to really see the difference, you have to eyeball the upper left hand panel of the display, and compare it to the lower right hand panel.

Mike may have more to say about the paper here.