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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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A Period of Government Reassessment: 1974–1990

A Period of Government Reassessment: 1974–1990

(p.208) 7 A Period of Government Reassessment: 1974–1990
The American Nonvoter

Lyn Ragsdale

Jerrold G. Rusk

Oxford University Press

Abstract: This chapter examines the period after Watergate, during which nonvoting increased. The chapter finds that the introduction of cable television into American homes was principally associated with this increase. With cable television, people could avoid politics by selecting channels that were expressly not political. In contrast, the uncertainty defined by the stagflation of the period—in which both inflation and unemployment increased in tandem—reduced nonvoting. The chapter also considers youth nonvoting in depth. The chapter continues the analysis of nonvoting at the individual level, confirming that the less people know about the campaign context and the less they make judgments about the candidates, the more likely they will be nonvoters.

Keywords:   Watergate, stagflation, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, cable television, narrowcasting, 26th amendment, Persian Gulf War, regions, nonvoting

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