Civic Engagement: Voting, TV, and Efficacy

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Civic Engagement: Voting, TV, and Efficacy Abstract Well known is the fact that active participation in America has gone down. Voting, especially, has been affected. Literature and statistics on voting behavior have demonstrated these shocking results. But lack of voting is simply the beginning, several factors affect civic engagement among those are the negative perceptions of politics received through televised media. This study found that several factors of significance with respect to efficacy, amount of TV watching, politician trust, and differences in gender factors. Though Robert Putnam’s suggestion of too much television does hold true, other factors can be predictors as well. Introduction America was founded on the idea of democracy. As Piven and Cloward put it, “Americans generally take for granted that ours is the very model of democracy” (2000). There seems to be an evident breakdown in American politics, the electorate is voting less than they did in previous generations (Putnam 2000). I question whether this is the beginning of a massive breakdown in American politics or simply a flux in the activity of the people. In sorting through much of the research on political opinions and voting very little is clear. Theorist and researchers differ on what is the major factor in the decline of voting in America. An influential idea provided by Robert Putnam was the increase in television watching and its effect on the American people. Others suggest that the growing economic inequality in American lives. But we are working with people who can be very surprising and strange as maybe the outcomes. I try to look at many factors that may indicate some reasons to what a portion of the population ... ... middle of paper ... ... the American Electorate Eighth Ed. Washington D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press. Piven, Frances Fox and Richard A. Cloward. (2000). Why Americans Still Don’t Vote: And Why Politicians Want It that Way. Boston: Beacon Press, 229-237. Putnam, Robert D. (2000). Bowling Alone. New York: Touchstone, 252-253. Rust, Roland, Mukesh Bajaj, and George Haley. (1984). Efficient and Inefficient Media for Political Campaign Advertising. Journal of Advertising,13, 3, 45-49. Sifry, Micah L. Finding the Lost Voters. The American Prospect, 11, 6, 23-27. Stanley, Harold W. and Richard G Niemi. (2000). Vital Statistics on American Politics 1999-2000. Washington D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press. Uslaner, Eric. (1998). Social Capital, Television, and the ‘Mean World’: Trust, Optimism, and Civic Participation. Political Psychology, 19, 3, 441-467.

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