The American Nonvoter by Lyn RagsdaleThe American Nonvoter by Lyn Ragsdale

The American Nonvoter

byLyn Ragsdale, Jerrold G. Rusk

Paperback | May 15, 2017

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A diverse body of research exists to explain why eligible voters don't go to the polls on election day. Theories span from the psychological (nonvoters have limited emotional engagement with politics and therefore lack motivation), to the social (politics is inherently social and nonvotershave limited networks), and the personal (nonvoters tend to be young, less educated, poor, and highly mobile). Other scholars suggest that people don't vote because campaigns are uninspiring. This book poses a new theory: uncertainty about the national context at the time of the election. Duringtimes of national crisis, when uncertainty is high, citizens are motivated to sort through information about each candidate to figure out which would best mitigate their uncertainty. When external uncertainty is low, however, citizens spend less time learning about candidates and are equallyunmotivated to vote.The American Nonvoter examines how uncertainty regarding changing economic conditions, dramatic national events, and U.S. international interventions influences people's decisions whether to vote or not. Using rigorous statistical tools and rich historical stories, Lyn Ragsdale and Jerrold G. Rusktest this theory on aggregate nonvoting patterns in the United States across presidential and midterm elections from 1920 to 2012. The authors also challenge the stereotype of nonvoters as poor, uneducated and apathetic. Instead, the book shows that nonvoters are, by and large, as politicallyknowledgeable as voters, but see no difference between candidates or view them negatively.
Lyn Ragsdale is Radoslav A. Tsanoff Professor of Public Affairs and Professor of Political Science at Rice University. Jerrold G. Rusk is Professor of Political Science at Rice University.
Title:The American NonvoterFormat:PaperbackDimensions:328 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.68 inPublished:May 15, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190670711

ISBN - 13:9780190670719

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Editorial Reviews

"An innovative, comprehensive, and engaging investigation of a much maligned feature of American democracy. Ragsdale and Rusk make a fascinating case for uncertainty as a stimulant for voting turnout in American elections." --Helmut Norpoth, Stony Brook University