90 Million Unlikely Voters In 2012?

Frankly, I am of the view that many Americans are not fans of either major party candidate for the White House and that lack of enthusiasm is being further weighed down by a sheer lack of trust in our political leaders and the institutions they operate within. The USA Today's Susan Page has more:

Call them the unlikely voters.

A nationwide USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll of people who are eligible to vote but aren't likely to do so finds that these stay-at-home Americans back Obama's re-election over Republican Mitt Romney by more than 2-1. Two-thirds of them say they are registered to vote. Eight in 10 say the government plays an important role in their lives.

Even in 2008, when turnout was the highest in any presidential election since 1960, almost 80 million eligible citizens didn't vote. Curtis Gans, director of the non-partisan Center for the Study of the American Electorate, predicts that number will rise significantly this year. He says turnout could ebb to levels similar to 2000, when only 54.2% of those eligible to vote cast a ballot. That was up a bit from 1996, which had the lowest turnout since 1924.

This year, perhaps 90 million Americans who could vote won't. "The long-term trend tends to be awful," Gans says. "There's a lot of lack of trust in our leaders, a lack of positive feelings about political institutions, a lack of quality education for large segments of the public, a lack of civic education, the fragmenting effects of waves of communications technology, the cynicism of the coverage of politics — I could go on with a long litany."

There's also the relentlessly negative tone of this year's campaign. The majority of TV ads don't try to persuade voters to support one candidate but rather to convince them not to back the other guy.

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published this page in In The News 2012-08-15 10:18:00 -0400
Analysis & Political Strategy