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Why do Americans Vote the Way They Do?

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Why do Americans Vote the Way They Do? The right to vote, along with the freedom of speech, is a fundamental element of democratic political systems. Main intention of this essay is to examine literature and surf the web in order to provide a personal-opinionated answer to a question: Why do Americans vote the way they do? A question may be broken down into segments, each of a different meaning, yet same great significance towards Americans' attitude towards voting. For example, why do Americans vote the way they do or rather why is there such low electoral turnout, in other words why so many Americans don't vote? America's voter turnout has been significantly lower than in many other states throughout the recent years. For example, Frances Fox Piven and Richard A. Cloward prove this fact in their Voter Turnout Percentages in Democratic Nations (Most Regent Major National Elections as of 1983 Table1. Voter Turnout in States (53%) is much lower than that of Belgium (95%), Luxembourg (89%), United Kingdom (76%) and others, setting it on 23rd place among other major democratic nations. ...read more.


Network TV news rated as influential among 64 percent, followed by cable TV news at 60 percent, and conversations with friends at 59 percent. Apparently, more than half of the infrequent voters surveyed, phone calls and door-to-door contact by political campaigns are not influential sources of information when deciding how to vote. Experience shows that in choosing a preferred candidate Americans pay much attention to public image and experience, rather than promises and size of electoral campaigns. For example, post election polls showed that Reagan (1980) did not win because of his campaign broadsides against big government, but because of popular discontent with the Carter administration's policies especially anger over high rates of unemployment5. Now this is something to be considered by candidates when planning out campaigning agenda. There are a few other significant reasons for why voting turn out is so low in America. For one, it is not obligatory, like, for example, in Italy and Australia. This gives Americans freedom of choice, however, nonvoting contributes to the "health of a democratic polity" (Piven and Cloward, 13) and should therefore be semi-compulsory. ...read more.


Rephrasing poll questions reveals that many people don't understand the issues that they have just offered an opinion on. This once again proves the point that generally, public in States is simply not aware of candidate/parties actions and deeds untill the elections come round and they get informed with pressure by meadia, public appearances and such and such. So to draw a conclusion from the facts listed it could be said that Americans vote the way they do - poorly - is because they are generally uninformed of candidates' activities and issues that do not come under Major Issues category and therefore can not identify the importance of work being done by one or other candidate. Another reason is those non-monetary 'costs' mentioned previously, attending elections is time-consuming, some even believe that their vote will not even make a difference in the final counts. To change people's attitude towards voting, society must change the way it perceives itself, if people believe in power to change or/and rule the system, they will want to affect own lives by attending the elections, but in the end this is all theory. ...read more.

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