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Inequality Is a Disease, Voter Turnout the Cure

Sean McElwee
Al Jazeera

The 2016 election will be decided not just by who votes but by who stays home. Voters were for a long time assumed to be a carbon copy of the electorate, but newresearch suggests turnout is tilted toward conservatives. The key to implementing progressive policy is therefore boosting voter turnout by reducing barriers to registration and mobilizing low- and moderate-income voters.

A massive Pew Survey on the party affiliations of Americans across numerous demographic groups recently made headlines for showing the political preferences of Americans. However, in the published data, Pew did not distinguish between the registered and nonregistered population. I asked Pew if it could provide data on the political views of the Americans who are not registered to vote. As the chart below shows, nonregistered Americans strongly prefer the Democratic Party to the Republican Party. Particularly interesting is that while the richest voters prefer Republicans, the richest nonvoters prefer Democrats. (This is in line with my research examining the American National Election Studies (ANES) data.)