Confidence in the Federal Government and Voter Turnout Essay

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Confidence in the Federal Government and Voter Turnout

Introduction

Since the presidency of John F. Kennedy, there has been a decline in American confidence in the federal government
(Walker, 2000). The importance of confidence in the American federal government is immense. Political participation can be defined as “Any activity that attempts to influence public policy or the selection of government officials” (Austin Community
College). One hopes that Americans do not lack confidence in the federal government because they dislike this style of government.
Democracy for many years has been trumpeted and hailed by many as the best way a government can truly reflect, respect and represent her citizens.

Having a great deal
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The presumption is that, if people do not have confidence in the federal government, then most likely they would not vote in the presidential election. According to
Susan V. Berresford, the President of the Ford Foundation, voter turnout is an important indicator of declining confidence in the federal government. Therefore the study’s second research question asks, “Is voter turnout decreasing? If so, is this associated with the decrease in confidence?” One short-term study perceives that voter turnout has significantly decreased
(Berresford, 2000).

The last of the study’s research questions is to find out
“Demographically, who has no confidence in the federal government?” Demographic categories investigated include religion, race, education, sex, and age. Sociologists believe that those who are religiously involved and have liberal religious beliefs have a higher level of political participation and therefore a higher confidence in federal government (Brady, 1989). More specifically, “the closer a person is to a church, the more likely they are to support the political authorities” (Hoffman, 1985).
Therefore, this study also compares the confidence level in the federal government among those who are religiously