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Policy Differences between Voters and Non-Voters in American Elections

Stephen D. Shaffer
The Western Political Quarterly
Vol. 35, No. 4 (Dec., 1982), pp. 496-510
DOI: 10.2307/447337
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/447337
Page Count: 15
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Policy Differences between Voters and Non-Voters in American Elections
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Abstract

The extent of different policy preferences between American voters and non-voters is examined with CPS Election Studies from 1952 to 1980. The major conclusion is that on most issues there are not significant attitudinal differences between voters and non-voters. Where differences do emerge, they are not ideologically consistent across issue areas. In earlier decades voters were more conservative than non-voters on economic issues, but in the late 1960s these policy differences decreased, largely because a higher education was no longer related to more conservative policy preferences. On a small subset of racial and women's rights concerns, voters were more liberal than non-voters, largely because of the greater liberalism of the more educated compared to the less educated on these issues.

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