Youth Views on Civic Engagement

Posted by on April 19, 2002

[Demos: Democracy Dispatch]

Youth Views on Civic Engagement Youth Vote Coalition and Lake Snell Perry & Associates have conducted a study of youth attitudes towards voting and civic participation. The report, which is not yet available to the public, comes to a few rather surprising conclusions. For instance, young people view voting as a choice rather than a duty. They also rate volunteer work as more rewarding than voting. The findings – based on a national phone survey and three focus group discussions in Raleigh, NC, St. Louis, MO, and Oakland, CA – confirmed that young people are not typically involved in the voting process because politicians do not address issues that concern them. Some issues of concern to young people are terrorism, the ability to find jobs in a slumping economy, crime, and the cost of receiving a college education. The most revealing information from the 100-plus-page report is the manner in which young people respond to media messages about voting.
They do not respond well to messages that are “admonishing or heavy-handed” such as “don’t take the right for granted.” They would also prefer to hear from people in their own peer group instead of from actors or performers. The full report will be available electronically in the coming weeks on the Youth Vote Coalition website,

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