SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

This article revisits the question of voter turnout in American presidential elections from the perspective of political generations. We extend previous analyses by examining the entire period between 1952 and 1996 by further specifying the turnout model and, most important, by incorporating a generational component. We hypothesize that the direct effect of membership in the cohort born prior to 1932 is to increase voter turnout and the indirect effect of membership in this cohort is to increase the impact of party-related variables in accounting for turnout. Finally, we hypothesize that the indirect effect of membership in the cohort born after 1932 is to increase the impact of socioeconomic, media-related, and candidate-related variables. Our findings strongly suggest that generational effects account for a significant component of the decrease in turnout among American citizens. The impact of generations is most pronounced in the first half of the voting life cycle.