Research says the lower you are on the economic scale, the less likely you are to be politically active.
Conventional wisdom states that the more money you have, the more likely you are to vote. This makes sense because financially secured individuals tend to have college degrees (a strong indicator in that they are more likely to vote) and have the time/resources to inform themselves of the current political landscape. However according to this recent Pew Research survey it’s becoming more clear that it’s less about that the financially secure being more active in the political process and more about the less financially secure not engaging in the political process.
Based on numbers from the 2014 elections, the recent Pew Research Center study shows that almost all financially secured Americans (94%) said they were registered to vote, while about half of those that are less financially secured (54%) said they were registered. As for voting, using pre-election estimates, the survey predicted of those less financially secure only 20% voted in contrast to the 63% of those that said they voted who were more financially secure.
The study goes on from there citing more examples ranging from financially insecure Americans are less likely to contact their local officials to their lack of awareness on the current political landscape (only about 1 in 4 of those less financially secure can name the current heads of the Senate and House).
It’s pretty clear from this Pew Research study that those financially insecure tend to opt out of the political system. While there are many reasons for this, the degree to which this is the case is still startling. In a representative democracy, policy can only be affected if a voting bloc votes. If the less financially secure continue to opt out of the political system, then policy that is enacted will only be targeted at a very small demographic that participates. In the long run, that hurts us all.
You can read the report in its entirety here.