Political Participation
Equal Opportunities and
Unequal Voices
Opportunities, Costs, and Benefits
BUYcotting – Using purchasing decisions to support the
products and policies of businesses (p. 139/151).
 Rational Actor Theory – The theory that states choices
are based on our individual assessment of costs and
benefits (p. 139/151).
 Free Riders – Those who enjoy the benefits from activities
without paying the costs of participation (p. 140/152).
*Attributes of Political Activities (chart p. 140/152)
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Characteristics of Political Participation
Seeks to influence government policy
2) Has broad legal consequences
3) Varies in form
Chart p. 140/152
1)
Ingredients for Involvement
1) Access to Resources – time, money & skill (chart p. 142/154); factors
of diversity
- family wealth (chart p. 142/154), education, religious affiliation,
workplace, race and gender (chart p. 142/155)
2)Political Engagement (Interest) – Psychological predisposition towards
or interest in politics (p. 143/155); chart p. 147/159
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Political Interest – meaure’s concern for election, outcome and positions of
candidates on issues
Political Efficacy (Internal and External) – empowerment/satisfaction via
political involvement
Political Information – amount of knowledge posses
Strength of Party Identification – degree of loyalty
3) Mobilization (Political, Direct and Indirect) – target groups for
involvement
Voting – Free, Fair, Frequent*
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Who Votes? Who Doesn’t?
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Who Votes (chart p. 146/158; increase 2008*)
Average Turnout in National Elections, Western
Europe and United States, 1945 – 2003 (chart p.
148/160)
Factors Influencing Voter Turnout
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Voter Fatigue – A tendency to tire of the process
of voting as a result of frequent elections (p.
149/160).
Other Forms of Participation
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Beyond Voting:
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Activities That Require More Time
Activities That Require More Skill
Activities That Require More Money (check book
democracy; consumer activism)
The Impact of Participation Patterns on
Policy
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Disproportionate voice of “advantaged”
creating “imbalanced” democratic system
Participation and Civic Engagement Today
(Ways to Increase Voter Turnout)
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Longer Polling Hours
Voting on Holiday/Weekend
Same-day Registration
New Methods of Voting
Compulsory Voting (chart p. 154/166)
Decrease in Cost of Running for Office
Increase Civic Skills to Increase
Participation Rates