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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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Campaign Context, Uncertainty, and Nonvoting

Campaign Context, Uncertainty, and Nonvoting

(p.57) 3 Campaign Context, Uncertainty, and Nonvoting
The American Nonvoter

Lyn Ragsdale

Jerrold G. Rusk

Oxford University Press

Abstract: The chapter introduces the specific indicators of uncertainty in the national campaign context, which include economic volatility, technology shock (with the invention of new mass communication devices, including radio, television, cable television, and the Internet), dramatic national events such as US involvement in major international conflicts, and federal expansion of the franchise. The more change in each indicator, the greater the increase in uncertainty. The increase in uncertainty produces a decrease in nonvoting. Conversely, the more stable the indicator, the less uncertainty and the more likely nonvoting increases. The chapter tests an aggregate model across the full time frame from 1920 through 2012 for presidential and midterm House elections. The results show that relative to such personal factors as age and education, measures of economic volatility, new communication technology, and visible national events decrease nonvoting in both presidential and midterm House elections.

Keywords:   national campaign context, uncertainty, nonvoting, economic volatility, technology shock, national events, international conflicts, franchise laws, personal resources, social networks, party mobilization

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