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Politics or the Kardashians? One in 10 say ‘not politics’

Come November, control of Congress is at stake and there are many state and local races to be decided and yet, one of every 10 Americans do not care about politics, according to a report by Pew Research Center.

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The report found that 10 percent of Americans are disengaged from politics.

“The fact is, one in 10 is a small number, but it’s not like the other 90 percent is all voting,” said Ben Dworkin, Rider University professor and director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics. “What this report shows is that there are millions of Americans who do follow politics and still won’t vote in a presidential election. I think that’s the bigger message here and the bigger challenge for America as a democracy.”

Those who are disengaged from politics are not registered to vote, they do not give money to candidates and they generally do not follow government or public affairs. Of that group, nearly two-thirds said they are interested in celebrities and entertainment.

“We do live in a celebrity-centric culture and that is the nature of our world, but I’m not sure that that is the entire reason, because if one in 10 Americans don’t care about politics but we know that 50 percent of Americans won’t vote in a presidential election, then that gap is what is really the challenge for all of us,” Dworkin said.

The report found that 38 percent of those who could care less about politics are younger than 30 years old and one-third were born outside of the United States. Historically, younger voters have not been as active as older voters. They are more transient, they’re still trying to find themselves in terms of where they’re going to be settling and so it takes time for them to become engaged. As people have families, become settled and buy homes, that’s when they become more active in civic affairs.

For those who simply don’t care, there is not much that can be done according to Dworkin, because there will always be people who will exercise their right not to vote or to be involved.

“What we do have to worry about are those who are following politics, but still won’t vote even in a national election like one for President,” he said. “They need to be engaged and they need to know that their vote makes a difference. This is up to political parties and their candidates to reach out to people and to engage them. In the end, the best way to get people involved is to ask them.”

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