<< The Body Politic

What’s happening in the citizenship world?

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

We’ve not had a roundup of news bits from the citizenship world in a while, so here are some recent items that we found interesting:

  • According to the Pew Research Center, youth engagement with politics is down, compared to this time in the 2008 presidential election cycle: “The share of voters younger than 30 who are following campaign news very closely is roughly half what it was at this point four years ago (18%, down from 35%). Just 63% of young registered voters say they definitely plan to vote this year, down from 72% four years ago. Not only are young registered voters less engaged, but fewer young people are registered to vote. In all Pew Research Center polling conducted over the course of 2012, only half (50%) of adults under 30 say they are absolutely certain that they are registered.”
  • The good news, though, is in the “Power of the Ask”: A new CIRCLE study shows that “almost half of young respondents reported that being asked by a friend or a parent would or might influence them to vote. In fact, of the situations that we asked about,  the one they said would have the most influence was being asked by a parent. This response is not unusual; for many behaviors, research has shown that young people get involved when asked by someone whom they trust. As we show in our recent report, sometimes not being asked sends a message to young people that their voice and participation are not wanted.”
  • In September, the Library of Congress unveiled the new Congress.gov, to replace the old THOMAS database. The new website includes an easily-searchable databse of bill summaries, texts, and vote tallies. It’s much more user-friendly than the old system. Another new database that recently went online is the TV News section of Archive.org, which, according to the New York Times, now houses “every morsel of news produced in the last three years by 20 different channels.” Bruce Kahle, who is heading the project, notes that “the focus is to help the American voter to better be able to examine candidates and issues.”