Political Behavior

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 7–32 | Cite as

Disinterest, disaffection, and participation in presidential politics

  • Warren E. Miller


Undue emphasis on the decline of voter turnout in national elections and its interpretation as indicative of political malaise are likely to make for erroneous understanding of the American democracy. Evidence from studies of the national electorate conducted between 1952 and 1978 shows that the explanation for declining turnout is not to be found in commensurate diminution in political interest or involvement, or in a decreasing sense of civic duty, feeling of political efficacy or trust in government. Where patterns of change have coincided, further analysis indicates an absence of possible cause-and-effect relationships. The decline has been chiefly limited to those population sectors characterized by lack of interest or involvement in national partisan politics. The article concludes with a projection of likely developments in political participation, including turnout, in future presidential elections.


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Copyright information

© Agathon Press, Inc 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Warren E. Miller
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Political Studies, Institute for Social ResearchThe University of MichiganUSA

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