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March 23 , 2017

The Vanishing Voter

Public Involvement in an Age of Uncertainty
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From the award-winning author of Out of Order—named the best political science book of the last decade by the American Political Science Association—comes this landmark book about why Americans don’t vote.
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This book develops and empirically tests a social theory of political participation. It overturns prior understandings of why some people (such as college-degree holders, churchgoers and citizens in national rather than local elections) vote more often than others. The book shows that the standard demographic variables are not proxies for…

Based on more than 80,000 interviews, The Vanishing Voter investigates why—despite a better educated citizenry, the end of racial barriers to voting, and simplified voter registration procedures—the percentage of voters has steadily decreased to the point that the United States now has nearly the lowest voting rate in the world. Patterson cites the blurring of differences between the political parties, the news media’s negative bias, and flaws in the election system to explain this disturbing trend while suggesting specific reforms intended to bring Americans back to the polls. Astute, far-reaching, and impeccably researched, The Vanishing Voter engages the very meaning of our relationship to our government.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


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