POS 336 Assignment 4

POS 336 Assignment 4 - Lauren Napolitano April 30, 2010 POS...

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Lauren Napolitano April 30, 2010 POS 336: Assignment 4 In the ever-changing landscape of political participation, voting has remained a constant indicator of interest in politics. Many political scientists have studied voter turnout and determined some major trends. In particular, one of these trends finds that younger people tend to vote much less than their elder counterparts. In his book, Is Voting For Young People , Martin Wattenberg examines the reasoning behind this trend. He takes a close look at the political habits of the younger adults, compares this to the older adults, and describes how these things have an effect on voter turnout. Wattenberg ultimately proposes a solution of compulsory voting laws in the United States in order to lift turnout. In his analysis, Wattenberg explores a number of issues plaguing voter turnout rates for younger people. He discusses everything from the frequency and intensity in which they follow politics, to the level of attractiveness of voting compared to doing other things, as well as the importance young people place on voting in general. Wattenberg begins by discussing the method in which young people obtain their political information. Newspapers, he claims, are the most comprehensive form of information on current events including politics. The problem is, not many young people read newspapers regularly and prefer to get their news elsewhere. Although the logical explanation points to television as a method of gathering information, Wattenberg argues that young people are not watching news programs either. As an obvious result of ignoring current events, Wattenberg explains that younger people are politically
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uninformed, leaving them uninterested in voting in elections. Wattenberg uses an analogy that relates the probability of people voting when they do not follow politics to people attending a sports game when they do not follow the sport. This analogy demonstrates how it is unlikely for someone to vote if they do not follow politics, and since young people generally do not follow politics, it results in low turnout rates. Young people simply care more about other things in their lives, and unfortunately, consider voting to be a low priority. Finally, Wattenberg touches on the fact that young Americans are less likely to view voting as a civic duty than young citizens of other countries. Wattenberg formulates a convincing argument when it comes to the lack of voter
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This note was uploaded on 05/04/2010 for the course POS 336 taught by Professor Shafer during the Spring '10 term at ASU.

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POS 336 Assignment 4 - Lauren Napolitano April 30, 2010 POS...

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