The Politics of Participation: Mobilization and Turnout over Time

The Politics of Participation: Mobilization and Turnout over Time Recent studies have argued that mobilization is not only an important determinant of individual participation, but that it can explain the mystery of declining voter turnout in the United States over the past 40 years. We identify and evaluate three possible ways in which mobilization might have affected levels of turnout over time: (a) aggregate rates of mobilization may have declined, (b) the effectiveness of mobilization contacts may have declined, and (c) the targeting of mobilization may have changed. The first two theories have been well articulated in the literature; the third has not. We find no evidence of a decline in mobilizing activity, nor do we find that mobilizing techniques have become less effective. Although we find that campaigns are more likely to target habitual voters in recent years, this pattern of behavior can only explain a small amount of the overall decline in turnout. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

The Politics of Participation: Mobilization and Turnout over Time

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 by Plenum Publishing Corporation
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1023/A:1020930604938
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Recent studies have argued that mobilization is not only an important determinant of individual participation, but that it can explain the mystery of declining voter turnout in the United States over the past 40 years. We identify and evaluate three possible ways in which mobilization might have affected levels of turnout over time: (a) aggregate rates of mobilization may have declined, (b) the effectiveness of mobilization contacts may have declined, and (c) the targeting of mobilization may have changed. The first two theories have been well articulated in the literature; the third has not. We find no evidence of a decline in mobilizing activity, nor do we find that mobilizing techniques have become less effective. Although we find that campaigns are more likely to target habitual voters in recent years, this pattern of behavior can only explain a small amount of the overall decline in turnout.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 10, 2004

References

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