Why Americans Don't Vote: Turnout Decline in the United States, 1960-1984

Why Americans Don't Vote: Turnout Decline in the United States, 1960-1984

Why Americans Don't Vote: Turnout Decline in the United States, 1960-1984

Why Americans Don't Vote: Turnout Decline in the United States, 1960-1984

Synopsis

"Why Americans Don't Vote is a well-crafted and well-executed piece of research. It stands as the best treatment of the topic, a topic that has received a good deal of attention. I recommend this book highly, both to those interested in understanding political participation and to those interested in modelling change in attitudes and behaviors generally." Contemporary Sociology

Excerpt

The American nonvoter, in most electoral contexts, is considerably more numerous than his or her voting counterpart. Yet the overwhelming proportion of research and commentary focuses on the American voter. The analysis in this book was undertaken as an attempt to redress this balance somewhat by studying, with advanced statistical methods, the behavior of the American nonvoter in the recent political past, 1960-1984.

This book originated at the University of Wisconsin, Sociology Department, between 1982 and 1984. At the time, the focus of the research project was the period of uninterrupted turnout decline in presidential elections between 1960 and 1980. Since then, not much has changed in the realm of American voter turnout, as turnout continues to be low, with only sluggish and occasional improvements. The original research has been expanded to include the 1980-1984 period, so this lack of improvement in the dismal turnout situation could be addressed.

It is worthwhile to say a few words here about the chapters that this book contains, and which ones might be of particular interest to different readers.

Chapter 1, the introductory chapter, sets the stage for the empirical study of turnout decline. In the process, many of the basic issues and facts about voter turnout are summarized. Thus, this chapter may be of particular interest to the general reader who . . .

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