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A USA Today/Suffolk University poll shows that more than 2/3 of the people who don’t plan to vote support President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney. Even more significantly, 80% of these people feel that government plays an important role in their lives.
In spite of this, many of these people don’t plan to vote. Many say that they don’t have time, or that the candidates don’t excite them. They also feel that Congress never gets anything done anyway, at least not when it comes to doing things that can make their lives better.
“I don’t think Obama helped us as much as he promised,” says John Harrington, one of the people surveyed.
Harrington says that since the 2008 election when he voted for Obama, he’s lost his home and moved around the country trying to find work.
Curtis Gans, director of the non-partisan Center for the Study of the American Electorate, estimates the voter turnout is going to get worse this year than it was in 2008. He says that it could drop to what it was in the year 2000, when 54% of Americans chose to vote. That means that 90 million Americans are not expected to vote in the next election.
“The long-term trend tends to be awful,” said Gans. “There’s a lot of lack of trust in our leaders, a lack of positive feelings about political institutions, a lack of quality education for large segments of the public, a lack of civic education, the fragmenting effects of waves of communications technology, the cynicism of the coverage of politics — I could go on with a long litany.”
Also, the negative ads make both candidates look like liars and crooks, which doesn’t make anyone excited about the election. Surveys among eligible voters who don’t plan to vote also reveal that roughly 40% don’t regret not voting because they don’t believe their vote is going to count anyway.
The only thing that led these voters to say that they would be more likely to show up to vote is if they believed that their vote would make a difference in a close election. This one might be it.