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The American Nonvoter$
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Lyn Ragsdale and Jerrold G. Rusk

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190670702

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190670702.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The American Nonvoter

Lyn Ragsdale

Jerrold G. Rusk

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents how uncertainty in the national campaign context affects whether people vote or not. The focus on the uncertainty of the national campaign context is in contrast to four primary explanations for nonvoting. Prior research has suggested that nonvoters lack sufficient psychological involvement in politics, are limited in their personal resources including education and income, are hampered by inadequate social networks, or have not been sufficiently mobilized by candidates’ campaigns. Instead, the chapter suggests that it is uncertainty associated with economic change, the invention of new mass communication technology, dramatic national events, and suffrage expansion that helps understand how many people do not vote and who does not vote.

Keywords:   nonvoter, uncertainty, national campaign context, psychological engagement, personal resources, social networks, campaign mobilization

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