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Discussion Pol 6100

I’m working on a political science discussion question and need an explanation to help me learn.

Research on American voters reveals two fundamental truths: as a whole citizens don’t pay much attention to politics, and few people participate. In this week’s readings the textbook chapter gives a broad overview of the different types of participation and factors which influence it, and Lewis-Beck et al take a closer look at the factors which influence voting turnout, the most common form of participation. Delli Carpini and Keeter document the lack of knowledge and information voters and non-voters bring to bear when thinking about and participating in politics. Finally, Popkin offers a theory of how voters make political decisions and judgements when they know so little about the political world. Questions to consider:

  • How do Americans make political decisions when they know so little about politics?
  • How much does it matter that Americans know very little about politics?
  • What type of people are most and least likely to participate in American politics? Why?
  • What steps could we as a nation take to increase voting turnout, or participation more generally?


Logic of American Politics, Chapter 10

Michael Lewis-Beck et al. 2008. The American Voter Revisited. Chapter 5

Delli Carpini, Michael X. and Scott Keeter. 1996. What Americans Know About Politics and Why it Matters. pg. 41-61 AND Chapter 6

Popkin, Samuel L. 1991. The Reasoning Voter, Chapters 1, 3

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