Political apathy

In political science, political apathy is a feeling of disinterest or apathy towards politics.[1] It can consist of interest apathy, voter apathy, and information apathy. It can be categorized as the indifference of an individual and a lack of interest in participating in political activities.[2] This includes lack of interest in elections, political events, public meetings, and voting.[3] Political apathy can lead to low voter turnout and stagnation in a state's government.[4][5] Political apathy can lead to a loss of democracy and respondents mentioned it can also have social and psychological damage due to lack of personal political interaction.[6] According to North American Review, lack of participation can lead to "political ills" such as corruption and dishonesty among politicians as they are not held accountable.[7] Countries with mandatory voting have seen less occurrences of political and voter apathy. In Belgium, political participation is at 87.2%, while in Turkey, it is 84.3%. [8]

Political apathy is often found among younger voters, the poor, and minority groups.[9] The Centre for Innovation, Research and Competence in the Learning Economy (CIRCLE) breaks down youths into different groups, Broadly Engaged (19%), Political Specialists (19%) and Only Voted (18%), with the rest clustered into Civically Alienated (16%), Politically Marginalized (14%) and Engaged Non-Voters (14%).[10] In 2010, only 21% of youths eligible to vote in the United States between ages 18–21 voted or were politically active.[11]

Political apathy in the United StatesEdit

In the 2012 presidential election in the U.S., turnout was 54.87%[12] and in the midterm elections of 2014 there was a historic low of 36.7% turnout to the elections.[13] In a study conducted by YouGov, the question "Suppose that you alone could determine whether a Democrat or a Republican represents your Congressional district by paying a specific dollar amount. How much would you be willing to pay to ensure that a Congressman from your preferred party will win the office?" was as asked to multiple American. 55% of the people answered that they would contribute nothing to help their district.[14] This study concluded that some Americans are not interested enough in politics to put hypothetical money to a candidate. Based on government data, in the last 60 years eligible voters that have cast a ballot has ranged from 49 to 63%.[15] The highest turnout occurred in the 1960 election in which President John F. Kennedy was elected, while the lowest turnout occurred in 1996 with the election for President Bill Clinton.[15]

In a Google study on "Interested Bystanders," experts discovered that 48.9% of people in America are paying attention to the political world but not voicing any opinion on the matter (non-voting, non-volunteering for campaigns etc.),[16] thus increasing political, and voter apathy in America.

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  1. ^ Dean, Dwight G. (1965-01-01). "Powerlessness and Political Apathy". Social Science. 40 (4): 208–213. JSTOR 41885108.
  2. ^ Harder, Joshua (2008). "Why Do People Vote? A Psychological Analysis of the Causes of Voter Turnout" (PDF). Stanford Journal of Social Issues. 64.
  3. ^ Pasek, Josh. "America's Youth and Community Engagement: How Use of Mass Media is Related to Civic Activity and Political awareness" (PDF).
  4. ^ Merrifield, John (1993-01-01). "The Institutional and Political Factors that Influence Voter Turnout". Public Choice. 77 (3): 657–667. doi:10.1007/bf01047865. JSTOR 30027347.
  5. ^ Frederick, Heather (2012-01-01). "Reforming the Presidential Primary System: The Voter Turnout Initiative". PS: Political Science and Politics. 45 (1): 51–57. doi:10.1017/s1049096511001740. JSTOR 41412721.
  6. ^ Rosenberg, Morris (1954-01-01). "Some Determinants of Political Apathy". The Public Opinion Quarterly. 18 (4): 349–366. doi:10.1086/266528. JSTOR 2745968.
  7. ^ Mosby, Speed (1898-01-01). "Danger of Political Apathy". The North American Review. 167 (503): 502–504. JSTOR 25119084.
  8. ^ "U.S. voter turnout trails most developed countries". Pew Research Center. 2016-08-02. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  9. ^ "Why the Voting Gap Matters | Demos". www.demos.org. Retrieved 2016-12-16.
  10. ^ "Understanding a Diverse Generation :Youth Civic Engagement in the United States". Tufts University College of Citizenship and Public Service.
  11. ^ "Why young people don't vote". The Economist. 2014-10-29. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  12. ^ "Voter Turnout in Presidential Elections". www.presidency.ucsb.edu. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  13. ^ "2014G - United States Elections Project". www.electproject.org. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  14. ^ "YouGov | Do Americans Care about Politics?". YouGov: What the world thinks. Retrieved 2016-11-07.
  15. ^ a b "Why is There so Much Voter Apathy in U.S. Elections?". International Business Times. 2011-09-19. Retrieved 2016-12-16.
  16. ^ Krontiris, Kate; Webb, John; Chapman, Chris (2015-01-01). "Understanding America's Interested Bystander: A Complicated Relationship with Civic Duty". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)