Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Why Do Non-Voters Stay Home? Not Out Of Ideology.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on July 22, 2015

One thing progressives tell themselves over and over again is that the reason most non-voters don’t vote is because they don’t like the issues or the candidates available for their vote. But is that really true?

In 2008, a U.S. Census Bureau study showed that 26.4% of those non-voters polled said that they didn’t vote because they weren’t interested or didn’t like the candidates. That’s barely a quarter of all the non-voters polled.

For 2012, the Census Bureau split out ideological non-voters (those that didn’t like the issues or candidates) from the merely apathetic (those who just plain weren’t interested). This showed that just 12.7% of non-voters polled – one-eighth of them – didn’t vote because they didn’t like the issues or candidates. Even more interesting: For 2014, the Census Bureau found that the percentage size of this group of non-voters had dropped to 8%.

Even if one continues to lump the apathetic in with those who don’t vote for ideological reasons, three Census Bureau studies show that at most, less than a third of the non-voters polled over the past three election cycles fall into this category.

4 Responses to “Why Do Non-Voters Stay Home? Not Out Of Ideology.”

  1. Charles II said

    Has anyone asked how many didn’t vote because (a) they are prevented from voting by laws forbidding felon voting or high barriers to registration on the young, the old, the disabled, and the poor?, (b) couldn’t vote because their employer doesn’t give them time off or because they don’t have transportation to the polls or because of disability? (c) didn’t vote because–thanks to our dysfunctional media– they didn’t have information about the candidates? Reading the reasons given by Weil, I see plenty that policymakers can work on. When one adds up ” Of those not voting, 8.6% were out of town, 18.9% were too busy… 2.7% could not find their polling place and 5.5% experienced a registration issue”, not to mention the “14% were unable to participate because of an illness or disability”, one ends up with nearly half of non-voters being blocked by things policymakers can do something about.

    • Difficulty of voting seems to have been cited by around a quarter of those polled, depending on how (or how often, and in what way) the question was asked.

  2. Charles II said

    I was interested to read who the Bipartisan Policy Center considers an expert. It’s a laundry list of the Third Way.

    On the bright side, it was interesting to see that Pete Domenici is still alive, though that isn’t entirely clear from the photo.

    Domenici, Rivlin, and Conrad are all Third Way types. Lockhart is a Bushie. Loper worked for Boehner, Hoagland worked for Frist, Bell worked for Domenici, Akabas is a Domenici-Rivlin alum (Collins/Megan/Ritz look mildly liberal), Dorgan, Lott, and Hayden require no comment… Kempthorne, Lingle, Perdue, Bennett, Leavitt, Bond, Martinez, Barbour, Rice, Hamilton. What an amazing lot of people who, if this were the 19th century, we could transport to Australia.

    • That’s one of the reasons I ignored Matthew Weil’s BPC-approved analysis and focused on the data, which in all three examples comes from the same source, the U.S. Census Bureau.

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