Why people do not vote: The role of personal values
Falling levels of electoral participation in established democracies have raised serious concern. We investigate the role of basic personal values in identifying those who do not vote. We argue that voting in specific elections offers non-voters less opportunity to affirm, protect, or attain the values they cherish than it offers to voters. We hypothesize that people who do not vote attribute less importance than voters to those values that the contesting parties actually endorse (actual value congruence) and that the parties are perceived as endorsing (perceived value congruence). Study 1 (Italian national elections of 2001, n = 1,782) confirmed the hypothesis for actual congruence between own and coalition endorsed values. Study 2 (2008 elections, n = 543) confirmed the hypothesis both for actual and perceived value congruence. In both studies, value congruence explained substantial variance in voter abstention beyond the effects of socio-demographic variables.