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Accounting for the Age Gap in Turnout

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Abstract:

We explore a number of explanations for the sharp difference in voter turnout between the post-generation X cohort and older citizens, using data from the 2000 Canadian Election Study. The gap in turnout between these groups is more than 27 percentage points. Controlling for socio-demographic factors reduces the age gap by almost a third. If we control for respondents’ perception of the closeness of the race in their riding, whether they were contacted during the campaign and whether they identify with a political party, the age gap decreases by a further three points — a reduction of 43% in the original gap. Contrary to conventional wisdom, we find that cynicism and negative attitudes toward politics and politicians are poor explanations for the discrepancy in turnout between young and old. Finally, if we include political information and interest in the model, there is no statistically significant difference in turnout between young and old citizens.Acta Politica (2004) 39, 407–421. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ap.5500079

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/palgrave.ap.5500079

Affiliations: 1: aDépartement de science politique, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128 succursale, Centre-ville, Montréal, QC, Canada H3C 3J7. , andre.blais@umontreal.ca, patrick.fournier@umontreal.ca, Email: daniel.rubenson@umontreal.ca 2: cDepartment of Political Science, McGill University, Leacock Building, Room 414, 855 Sherbrooke Street West, Montréal, QC, Canada H3A 2T7., Email: Elisabeth.Gidengil@mcgill.ca 3: dDepartment of Political Science, University of Toronto, Sidney Smith Hall, Room 3018, 100 St. George Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 3G3., Email: nnevitte@chass.utoronto.ca

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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