Political Science | Why Don't Young People Vote?
Y490 | 16777 | Smyth
This seminar has two goals. The first is to gain some leverage on a
fundamental issue in political science: voter turnout. Why do some
people vote, while others do not? In particular, why has turnout
among young people across the globe been declining? Why are these
declines so pronounced in the United States? These are some of the
most discussed dilemmas in political science theory and in popular
politics. For some scholars and policy-makers, declining turnout
indicates a growing crisis in democracy. As such, there has been a
large and varied response to the problem by nongovernmental
organizations, government, candidates, political parties, and even
the IU student government to try to encourage voters—and in
particular, young people—to participate in elections.
The second task of the course is to begin to equip students with the
tools to carry out basic research in the social sciences. We will
ask two narrower questions: Why don’t IU students turn out in large
numbers of vote? Or will they turnout in greater numbers in this
election cycle? To answer the question, we will assess general
theories of turnout and formulate some hypotheses of our own. Then,
we will “test” those theories by designing and implementing a survey
of PSU students.