Date of Award

Spring 1990

Document Type



Political Science & International Relations


It is important to understand the phenomena of voting in the United States where disparity of turnout has plagued researchers over the past fifty years. Understanding voting phenomena may enable researchers to determine the disparity in turnout rates and eventually improve them. It is also important to understand the role of the mass media, and the effects it may have on the electoral system in the United States. In order to understand these effects, however, people must become familiar with the various models that attempt to explain how the electorate utilizes the mass media. It is also important to become familiar with the consequences of mass media consumption on voter turnout. Presently, the research that has been conducted in these areas is fragmented; various factors, models and approaches to voter turnout and mass media are isolated from one another. This makes it difficult to understand the act of voting in America, that is, the decision to vote or not to vote in a general election. More importantly, however, it is difficult to determine how the electorate reaches their decisions to participate in a general election or not, without a synthesis of all available research.