Record-Low Turnouts Likely as Voter Enthusiasm Drops to 20-Year Low

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It is a midterm election year, which means voter turnout is likely to be lower than a presidential election year, but there is a chance Americans could see record-low turnouts nationwide as enthusiasm among voters has dropped sharply in the last two years. In fact, according to a recent survey, enthusiasm among American voters has dropped to a 20-year low.

In a poll published on Monday, May 12, Gallup reports that 53 percent of Americans say they are less enthusiastic about voting than they were in previous elections. This is up from 37 percent in 2010. The percentage of Americans who say they are more enthusiastic dropped from 52 percent in 2010 to 35 percent in 2014.

Essentially, the lack of enthusiasm among voters in 2014 matches the level of enthusiasm voters had 4 years ago.

Reports that 2014 could be a good year for Republicans may be the reason GOP voters are more likely to be enthusiastic than Democrats, but overall even members of the Republican Party are not that excited about the November elections — at least, not as excited as they were in 2010. Fifty percent of respondents who said they are Republican or tend to lean toward the Republican Party during elections say they are less enthusiastic than usual about voting. This is up from 28 percent in 2010.

Meanwhile, 55 percent of Democrats and voters who tend to lean toward the Democratic Party say they are less enthusiastic — up from 44 percent in 2010. While there was a larger increase in the number of Republicans/Republican leaners who said they are less enthusiastic than usual about voting, net enthusiasm among Democrats/Democratic leaners is -23 (32% more enthusiastic vs. 55% less enthusiastic) — a much larger deficit than their counterparts (net enthusiasm at -8).

Engagement in elections is driven by motivation and motivation is driven by perception. Only 26 percent of Americans say they have given some degree of thought to the 2014 midterm elections. The media is more interested in covering the 2016 presidential election than they are elections happening in the current year, which has altered perception in the past. However, while this will change as November nears, more Americans are likely to stay home this year on Election Day.

The 113th Congress is the most polarized and least productive in modern U.S. history. Lawmakers place partisan politics ahead of listening to what the American people want and passing pragmatic legislation to alleviate some of the nation’s biggest issues. Nothing is getting done in Washington and Americans are frustrated. Congressional approval remains below 10 percent.

The major parties have abandoned the American people, but the current system leaves many voters feeling like they have no alternative to turn to — no real choice.

The Gallup poll even looks at the issue through the lens of “Republican versus Democrat.” Voters are categorized as Republican, Republican-leaning independents, Democratic-leaning independents, and Democrats. When a majority of Americans believe neither major party represents them, the options they are given is enough to keep enthusiasm low — and quite frankly it is depressing to think about. American voters feel hopeless that the status quo can change because the current system is designed to preserve the status quo.

How can Americans feel enthusiastic about elections when they are not adequately represented? Why would they want to become engaged in a process that assures they will continue to be insufficiently represented?

Photo Credit: AP

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  1. Rocky4President IVNetwork http://twitter.com/Rocky4President/status/469286170049142785/photo/1
  2. Independent Workers of America Labor Association ( Mandatory voting will fix the problem. But guess who will die and go to hell before supporting such a measure? The president, the senate, the house! All of them? I think so.
  3. YKippurwar IVNetwork A gerrymander society will always have this problem not adequately represented #p2
  4. DougGoodman Shawn M Griffiths DougGoodman   Shawn, I agree with your final statement with the caveat it is the voters that can create the change needed to open up the system. Will it be easy? No. Will it happen overnight? No. Will it happen? Only is voters make it happen.
  5. Shawn M Griffiths DougGoodman The status quo will not change as long as voters feel like they really don't have a choice. An increase in partisanship has only created a larger deficit in voter enthusiasm. If voters are going to the polls with only the options the parties have given them rather than candidates all voters have had an opportunity to have a say on, then they are not going to be very enthusiastic about voting.  Change will not happen in a system that has been rigged to favor the candidates the parties have chosen. You say that is an excuse, but that sounds exactly like what you would hear from party leaders: it is just apathy, an excuse, changing the system is not needed, only a change in voter attitudes. I agree with the notion that people who don't vote, but then complain about the system really have no say because they are not doing anything to change things, but just voting for the challenger in the general election won't mean change because the challenger is likely not a candidate voters are very enthusiastic about either. Why should voters be stuck in a system where they feel like they are always left with the choice of the lesser of two evils? Voters should take responsibility for not participating in the general election process, but they should not be held responsible if they are denied equal and meaningful participation in elections.
  6. Jody Crampton Borgman Voting is a joke!
  7. DougGoodman What those former or non-voters fail to understand is it is their actions that allow the status-quo to continue. If they want change, they have to vote for it. Excuses such as the system is rigged, or my vote won't matter are just that, excuses for not taking responsibility for your actions.  Just as it is highly unlikely that the number of people who state to pollsters they do not think their member of Congress should be re-elected will vote for the challenger. Want answers to why the system is the way it is? If you are one of those who complains but does not vote, look in the mirror.
  8. Arlene Evans if you don't like the candidates-vote for the lesser of 2 evils-We need to clean house this election!!
  9. Lar Myslinski Any Democ Rat and/or Rino is on the list for extinction.
  10. Ricky R Jamison When the People are getting what they are getting from our elected officials, which is basically NOTHING, then people are frustrated thus apathetic.
88 comments
DougGoodman
DougGoodman

What those former or non-voters fail to understand is it is their actions that allow the status-quo to continue. If they want change, they have to vote for it. Excuses such as the system is rigged, or my vote won't matter are just that, excuses for not taking responsibility for your actions.  Just as it is highly unlikely that the number of people who state to pollsters they do not think their member of Congress should be re-elected will vote for the challenger. Want answers to why the system is the way it is? If you are one of those who complains but does not vote, look in the mirror.

Arlene Evans
Arlene Evans

if you don't like the candidates-vote for the lesser of 2 evils-We need to clean house this election!!

Lar Myslinski
Lar Myslinski

Any Democ Rat and/or Rino is on the list for extinction.

Ricky R Jamison
Ricky R Jamison

When the People are getting what they are getting from our elected officials, which is basically NOTHING, then people are frustrated thus apathetic.

Richard Kelly
Richard Kelly

"The powers that be." An expression used to describe the bought and paid for officials, that we allow to control our lives. If politics doesn't interest you, you are part and parcel of the problem in this country!! Pay attention and vote!!!

Russell Utoft
Russell Utoft

Yes it looks like President Putin is convincing a lot of Americans that his way is best. Don't be so stupid as not to vote and don't say I am not represented 100% of the time. As close as elections are today, you can not say my vote doesn't count. I know mine does. It is the height of laziness not to vote. Also if you do not vote shut up about any laws or money spent by your representative!!!

William Moyle
William Moyle

Give us someone worth voting for. That simple.

Al Glace
Al Glace

How can WE THE PEOPLE be enthusiastic when delegates elect our presidents and not WE THE PEOPLE..

Rose Townsley
Rose Townsley

WHY, IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. It's one of the most important things you should do in your life.

Cecelia Henderson
Cecelia Henderson

When voting machines "default" your vote, the dead vote, some vote multiple times, when entire districts vote 100% for one person, when illegals vote, when independants are not represented, when politicians lie and we can't even screen the candidates, tell me why the voter might feel that their vote doesn't matter anyway?

Susan Aubrey Wilde
Susan Aubrey Wilde

I may not be enthusiastic but I sure as hell am not letting them take one of the last rights they have left us away. We need to re-balance the house and this is the election to do it.

Kevin C. Smith
Kevin C. Smith

Enthusiastic to vote? No. The people driving this country to neo-feudalism are. The only choice out there is a Democratic Party that is the very definition of feckless.

Scott Neuman
Scott Neuman

Stick up for the ratified Congressional Apportionment Amendment and see how fast things change. Time to put history back the way it was supposed to be. http://www.ScottneumanforCongress.com in 2014 4th CD NJ. Or things just remain the same, dank, dark and putrid.

Mary Bryant
Mary Bryant

Voters feel abandoned. I'll cintinue to v ote. But unfortunately the vite us not true. We need to change that!

Carol Poole
Carol Poole

It would work I he sheep would wake up and the dead and the illegals stopped voting....

Kim Baxley
Kim Baxley

The worse things get, the MORE enthusiastic, and involved I am becoming. I am spending a lot more time researching candidates than I ever have before. Things will not "fix themselves" we have to fix them.

Education&Technology
Education&Technology

We will be posting videos to enthuse voters, this is the election that will determine the Presidency in 2016

Education&Technology
Education&Technology

I guess people are confused and tired. You almost need a college degree to vote.

Bill Drac Edwards
Bill Drac Edwards

I wanna a middle class President, not some snobby rich kids son!

Steve May
Steve May

They figure no matter who they vote for it will be rigged an the one the communist want will win the election !

Ed Hinojosa
Ed Hinojosa

vote for all the koch suckers they want your wel;fare ss and va benefits so they can get tax cuts anmd sjip your jobs over seas

Ed Hinojosa
Ed Hinojosa

bushes clintons bushes tebagkkkers obamas yuck

Becky Bailey
Becky Bailey

Independents are real hard to get on the ballot here. And they don't allow write-ins.

Jane Logan
Jane Logan

This is exactly the opposite of what should be happening, what is wrong with people?

Jesse Baptista
Jesse Baptista

I get a little sick and tired OF answering those who continually ask,"WHY VOTE?" Unfortunately there are more and more folks out there who feel their vote really doesn't matter. Our $$$ system $$$ is BROKE ? Is it bought and paid for by the RICH ?

Joanne Almeida
Joanne Almeida

WHY IN HEAVENS NAME NOT VOTE! PEOPLE THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO GET THE LAZY do NOTHINGS OUT! GO VOTE!!!!! if you do NOT DO N OT COMPLAIN>>

Judy Felton Autry
Judy Felton Autry

Simple strategy right now: VOTE OUT ALL THE DEMOCRATS AND SOME OF THE REPUBLICANS WHO HAVE GONE ALONG TO GET ALONG OR WHO HAVE ATTACKED THOSE IN WASHINGTON WHO HAVE BEEN TRYING TO STAND STRONGLY FOR CONSERVATIVE VALUES!!! Easy voting until this ship starts turning around!!

Edna Brenton
Edna Brenton

Oligarchy. You only get to vote for the candidates the billionaires choose for you.

Bibiana Leal
Bibiana Leal

MarySchell, yes powers that for against our vote when they go to supreme courts to over turn things we have voted on so whats the use of voting if they dont uphold our wishes in the firstplace?

Timothy Bowen
Timothy Bowen

This guy that we have in the White House NOW, was duly elected by all of the "low-information, ethnic, welfare recipients" who had TIME to stand in lines,... believing that if they voted for "the Brutha". they would receive more "considerations", and a bigger welfare check .

Berta Pace
Berta Pace

Crazy! Losers will win....Vote to change things. Voting is your Voice!!!

Don Palmer
Don Palmer

This is how progressive win, when conservatives stay home. If you don't vote, don't complain. People like Obama, Pelosi, and Read win when you stay home, it's what they want you to do!

Jason Paramore
Jason Paramore

They don't let independent on the ballot most of the times yeah otherwise I vote Libertarian.

Joseph Marquardt
Joseph Marquardt

Voting machine fraud, how does that work. If they can't catch whoever is commiting the fraud, how do we know it is not illegal voters,(notillergal immigrants, illegal voters)

Shawn M Griffiths
Shawn M Griffiths moderator

@DougGoodman The status quo will not change as long as voters feel like they really don't have a choice. An increase in partisanship has only created a larger deficit in voter enthusiasm. If voters are going to the polls with only the options the parties have given them rather than candidates all voters have had an opportunity to have a say on, then they are not going to be very enthusiastic about voting. 

Change will not happen in a system that has been rigged to favor the candidates the parties have chosen. You say that is an excuse, but that sounds exactly like what you would hear from party leaders: it is just apathy, an excuse, changing the system is not needed, only a change in voter attitudes.

I agree with the notion that people who don't vote, but then complain about the system really have no say because they are not doing anything to change things, but just voting for the challenger in the general election won't mean change because the challenger is likely not a candidate voters are very enthusiastic about either. Why should voters be stuck in a system where they feel like they are always left with the choice of the lesser of two evils?


Voters should take responsibility for not participating in the general election process, but they should not be held responsible for being denied equal and meaningful participation in elections.

DougGoodman
DougGoodman

@Shawn M Griffiths @DougGoodman  

Shawn,

I agree with your final statement with the caveat it is the voters that can create the change needed to open up the system. Will it be easy? No. Will it happen overnight? No. Will it happen? Only is voters make it happen.