They are the most likely voters among us; the kind of people who can recite the names of their U.S. senators and Congress members, not to mention their statehouse and council representatives.
The ones who don't just talk the talk but walk the walkway right up to the voting both time and time again, as if the fate of the nation -- and their neighborhoods -- turn on a solitary vote.
Well, whatever their motivation, research shows, they share some common characteristics that may not give them all an air of authority but surely make them recognizable to the uninitiated.
So, here is a random compilation of surveys and studies that offer some less-than-obvious hints on how to spot the neighbors and co-workers who are likeliest to embrace this most fundamental of civic duties.
They sweat, they vote. Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln set out to draw a correlation between physiological responses and political action, according to a recent edition of New Scientist magazine. They showed volunteers pictures that typically cause people to sweat (sunsets and fist fights, for example) and found that the more the subjects sweated in response to the images, the more politically active they were.
Perspiration, the researchers concluded, was every bit as reliable a predictor of voter turnout as education, New Scientist reported.
Guess there's something to be said for getting all worked up over those candidate debates.
They're smart, they vote. It's true, at least according to a team of U.K. scientists. Smarter people voted more often, no matter their occupation, the researchers concluded in 2008. They also drew a link to childhood intelligence in particular.
They've stayed married (with or without children), they vote. Married couples accounted for 65 percent of the voters in 2000, for instance, according to University of Utah researcher and sociology professor Nicholas Wolfinger. And even childless married couples are far more likely to vote than other childless adults.
Family Structure Matters
The research also suggests that families that stay together vote together, because people who divorce go to the polls less often.
They live in Minnesota or D.C., they vote. Minnesotans and Washingtonians shared voting rates of about 75 percent in the 2008 presidential election, the highest in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Living in the land of politicians will do that to you, but what's Minnesota's excuse?
They go to church at least weekly, they vote. The result is a disproportionate say in who gets elected to Congress, the Pew Research Center found in a survey ahead of the 2006 elections. Nearly 40 percent of those who said they attended religious services at least once a week, were regular voters, Pew concluded.
Maybe they know something about election season that others don't; perhaps the need to call on a higher power to survive it.