Voter turnout to be lowest in a decade as America becomes disengaged

By Tom Beasley

Polls estimate that voter turnout in the 2012 election will be lower than in the last two elections.

Data gathered by Gallup before the impact of Hurricane Sandy suggests that fewer Americans are set to vote in this election than in both 2004 and 2008, sparking fears of a return to the low voter turnout figures of 1996 and 2000.

The poll found that only 83% of registered voters considered their likelihood of voting “10” on a ten-point scale. In 2008, this figure was 86% and in 2004, it was higher at 89%. According to the figures, this election will have a lower voter turnout than the last two elections.

These figures are set to translate into a lower voter turnout on November 6th, showing an increasing disillusionment between voters and politicians, as Barack Obama and Mitt Romney battle to marshal enough support to win the minds of the American public.

Samuel Lu, studying International Relations at George Washington University, said: “People aren’t less engaged here in America – they are more disillusioned with how Congress is being used and how there hasn’t been that ‘change’ that was promised.”

“We have a very polarizing media, so there is a lot of misinformation. That makes America very split ideologically so people will vote, not because they can, but because they are scared of what will happen if the wrong guy gets elected.”

This increasing lack of political trust could translate into a far lower voter turnout this year than in the two previous elections. With the campaign still too close to call this could make all the difference in terms of who gets to take their place in the White House.

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