Beyond Demography: The Politics of Turnout Decline
[I] couldn't say that man was right and that man wrong. . . . In a way I feel that what politicians do is none of my business. . . . It all seems sort of foreign. It's all media-oriented. It's like selling toothpaste.
--Twenty-three-year-old nonvoter, quoted in Hadley ( 1978)
The results of the previous chapter showed that turnout decline in the 1960-1980 period could not be substantially attributed to social structural change. This chapter looks at the other set of factors possibly relevant to decreased turnout: those tapping the connections of individuals to the political system--what I have called sociopolitical characteristics. The three characteristics to be examined are partisanship, political efficacy, and campaign newspaper reading. Analyzing their relationship to turnout decline will test the possibility that the key change lay in the disconnection of individuals from politics--the erosion of certain attitudinal/ behavioral commitments to the political system--which made elections less meaningful for Americans. 1
Table 4-1 shows the results when the three sociopolitical variables are successively added to the full social structure turnout
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Publication information: Book title: Why Americans Don't Vote:Turnout Decline in the United States, 1960-1984. Contributors: Ruy A. Teixeira - Author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1987. Page number: 63.
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