Chronic health conditions and voter turnout: Results from the 2012 United States presidential election

Cydney M Mcguire, Wendy M Rahn, Sarah E. Gollust

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study examined associations between diagnoses with five chronic health conditions (diabetes, cancer, heart disease, asthma, and arthritis) and turnout in the 2012 US presidential election. We used cross-sectional survey data from 16 states from the 2013 and 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. We estimated a logistic regression model with the main dependent variable as a survey item asking respondents if they voted. We also estimated logistic regression models stratified by race/ethnicity to assess whether the chronic health condition–turnout relationships varied within each racial/ethnic group. Results show that individuals diagnosed with diabetes were 7 percentage-points more likely to vote that those who were not. Stratified models revealed these diabetes–turnout relationships are particularly strong among those who identified as Hispanic and multiracial. Other health characteristics demonstrated consistency with previous literature, including lower self-rated health being associated with lower odds of turnout. Our research suggests an intriguing new relationship between the experience of diabetes and a higher propensity to vote and that different chronic health conditions have varying associations with the likelihood to vote, implying that some groups are more vulnerable to being underrepresented in politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-327
Number of pages15
JournalWorld Medical and Health Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by funding provided to Cydney M. McGuire as a predoctoral fellow by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number T32DK083250 (Principal Investigator: R. Jeffery). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health or CDC. Funding agencies had no role in the design, analysis or writing of this article. The work was previously presented at AcademyHealth Annual Research Meeting in 2019.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Policy Studies Organization


  • chronic health conditions
  • political participation
  • voter turnout

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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