What is Political Efficacy?
Political efficacy is one’s individual sense of how effective one’s vote will be in influencing the political process. Simply stated, it’s the answer to the question: Does your vote matter? People with a high sense of political efficacy believe that their vote will make a difference in politics. People with a low sense of political efficacy believe that their vote has no power to bring about change.
What is Voter Turnout?
Voter turnout is the percentage of eligible voters in a given location who actually vote. Sometimes this number is calculated as a percentage of all registered voters. Sometimes the number is calculated as a percentage of all voting-age citizens (a larger number, since not everyone is registered). Turnout tends to be highest in the United States in Presidential election years (like 2016), is lower in midterm elections (like 2014), and is lowest during odd numbered years, when only state and local races are on the ballot.
- What are some reasons that politicians care about how people vote?
- Why do you think that turnout is so low in state and local races?
- How do you think political efficacy affects voter turnout?