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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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Who Are Nonvoters?

Who Are Nonvoters?

(p.91) 4 Who Are Nonvoters?
The American Nonvoter

Lyn Ragsdale

Jerrold G. Rusk

Oxford University Press

Abstract: Examining nonvoting at the individual level, this chapter identifies four types of nonvoters in both presidential and midterm elections. The chapter draws a theoretical distinction between external uncertainty found in the national campaign context and internal uncertainty among eligible citizens about whether a specific candidate will adequately address the external uncertainty. The four types of nonvoters respond to this internal uncertainty differently. The politically ignorant nonvoters do not follow the campaign or the candidates, so avoid internal uncertainty about them. The indifferent follow the campaign and candidates but see no differences between them as internal uncertainty remains. The dissatisfied know a good deal about the campaign context and candidates but see one or more candidates negatively; they do not vote because internal uncertainty about the candidates remains unresolved. The personal hardship nonvoters pay attention to the campaign and candidates but do not vote due to personal hardship associated with unemployment.

Keywords:   external uncertainty, internal uncertainty, types of nonvoters, political ignorance, indifference, dissatisfaction, personal hardship

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