OSR Journal of Student Research

Article Title

The Psychology of Political Efficacy and its Unanticipated Effect on Youth Voter Turnout


Ciera Hammond


How does political efficacy among 18-29 year olds affect their likeliness to vote? This age group has the lowest voter turnout compared to all other age groups. This study is interested in why young people do not vote, and whether political efficacy is to blame. Using American National Election Studies survey data, I will analyze the relationship between political efficacy and voter turnout among different age groups during the 2016 races. Previous studies find a strong correlation between efficacy and turnout; my analysis will explore this relationship across age groups. I expect that efficacy does not predict support among young voters. I anticipate this relationship because the 2016 primaries demonstrated unprecedented enthusiasm among young people, however turnout in the general election for this group remained low. This analysis is important because it will highlight whether efficacious young voters stay home on Election Day, and give insight as to why.

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