The Dynamic Consequences of Nonvoting in American National Elections Academic Article uri icon


  • A growing body of work examines the consequences of unequal participation in American democracy for electoral outcomes. However, this scholarship has ignored the potential impact of unequal voting for the quality of dynamic representation in the American political system. Using data from the General Social Survey (GSS), we examine the dynamic relationship between the policy preferences of voters and nonvoters in the American electorate. Further, we assess how unequal participation - and the incentives that it may give to policymaking elites - may moderate the relationship between the mass public and policy outcomes. Our analysis reveals that the policy preferences of voters and nonvoters respond in similar ways to the political and economic environment. In addition, we find no evidence that national policymaking elites are differentially responsive to changes in the preferences of voters and nonvoters.

author list (cited authors)

  • Ellis, C. R., Ura, J. D., & Ashley-Robinson, J.

citation count

  • 18

publication date

  • June 2006