- The continuous declines in voting turnout, political trust and efficacy in the U.S. since 1960 have attracted tremendous attention. Many researchers suggest that increased political alienation might be an important source for the decline in voting; however, actual studies of alienation's impact on voting have proven very confusing. The relationship tends to be very weak in most studies, and some have even reached contradictory conclusions. and Using 1960-1988 cumulative data from the National Election Study, this research explores the major sources for changes in political alienation and voting turnout in the U.S. and the relationships among these changes. Four major issues are addressed here: (1) Many previous studies of political alienation are characterized by an incomplete theoretical framework, inadequate definitions, and unreliable measurement. Based on a more complete theoretical framework and more thorough factor analyses, this study redefines political alienation as a multicomponent, multidimensional, and multiobject concept. Four basic dimensions of political alienation are identified: normlessness, powerlessness, meaninglessness, and apathy. (2) Using regression and algebraic decomposition methods, the increases in political alienation and decline in turnout are decomposed in terms of individual change and cohort replacement effects. A unique method is developed to identify the "voting-cohort" effect, and the continuous cohort replacement effects are found to play a much more important role in the last 30-year change. (3) The relationship between increased political alienation and decline in voting turnout has been probed in terms of the four separate dimensions of alienation. It is argued that not all types of political alienation will lead to withdrawal from voting. The politically alienated people who are unlikely to vote are alienated from the regime or entire system, or low in internal efficacy; and those with high political apathy. (4) The sources for decline in turnout are systematically explored and decomposed in terms of the demographic, institutional, and social psychological factors. With regression standardization and related component analysis, the effect of each independent variable on turnout has been decomposed in terms of the effect due to mean change and the effect due to slope change. The changes in slopes play a more important role in lowering turnout.
- Dissertation Note:
- Ph.D. The Pennsylvania State University 1991.
- Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 52-08, Section: A, page: 3056. and Adviser: Glenn A. Firebaugh.
View MARC record | catkey: 13613404