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)
Characteristics of Political Participation
Seeks to influence government policy
2) Has broad legal consequences
3) Varies in form
Chart p. 140/152
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
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
Voting – Free, Fair, Frequent*
Who Votes? Who Doesn’t?
Who Votes (chart p. 146/158; increase 2008*)
Average Turnout in National Elections, Western
Europe and United States, 1945 – 2003 (chart p.
Factors Influencing Voter Turnout
Voter Fatigue – A tendency to tire of the process
of voting as a result of frequent elections (p.
Other Forms of Participation
Beyond Voting:
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
Disproportionate voice of “advantaged”
creating “imbalanced” democratic system
Participation and Civic Engagement Today
(Ways to Increase Voter Turnout)
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