Changing Attitudes About Democratic Participation Through a Catalytic Experience

Olson, Emma | May 24, 2016

Even with the United States’ deep roots in democratic participation, studies indicate a steady decline in civic involvement. What most fundamentally influences democratic participation is unclear, but this Article posits that by engaging citizens in the political process through an initial catalyst democratic participation experience, these citizens will ultimately think more positively about government and democratic participation, and as a result, they will more readily vote and engage in other parts of civic life. This study finds that while serving as an exit poll administrator during a Chicago Election Day may make participants believe the government to be less effective, this experience positively changes attitudes regarding future plans to volunteer with political campaigns and engage in other civic opportunities.