Washington, DC - There is a large pool of Americans who do not intend to vote in November--about 40 percent of eligible adults--according to a new USA Today/Suffolk University poll. Most of the non-voters would choose Barack Obama over Mitt Romney, according to the poll.
The last presidential election, in 2008, saw the highest voter turnout since 1960, but still almost 80 million didn’t vote.
Curtis Gans, director of the non-partisan Center for the Study of the American Electorate, tells USA Today he predicts that number will rise significantly this year, to possibly 90 million.
"The long-term trend tends to be awful," Gans says. "There's a lot of lack of trust in our leaders, a lack of positive feelings about political institutions, a lack of quality education for large segments of the public, a lack of civic education, the fragmenting effects of waves of communications technology, the cynicism of the coverage of politics — I could go on with a long litany."
There is also a heavy negative tone to this year’s campaign. WSB talk show host Erik Erickson, speaking with Scott Slade Wednesday on Atlanta's Morning News, says that is actually a political strategy.
“When you go really, really negative, you keep independents at home. They won’t go vote. They feel disengaged from the process,” says Erickson. “And if you’re gambling that your base is bigger than the other guy’s base, well you want to keep the independents at home.”
Erickson says this works in favor of Democrats. “One of the reasons the Democrats have been so much more negative thus far this year is that they are just trying to keep the independents at home because the polls suggest there is still a larger Democratic base still than a Republican base.”