Political Participation

Political Participation

In rounds 8, 10, 12, and 14, the NLSY97 collected information on political participation and interest.  The section consists of three questions: (1) level of interest in politics and public affairs, (2) whether the respondent voted in the November election, and (3) for those who did not vote, whether the respondent was registered to vote in the November election.

Some respondents were interviewed prior to Election Day. Such respondents were asked about their interest in politics and then asked whether they were registered to vote in the coming November election, but they could not be asked whether they did vote. Round 15 contains one "did you vote?" question for those respondents who were not asked in round 14.

For the 1984 and 1983 birth cohorts, as well as the end of the 1982 birth cohort, the 2004 election was the first presidential election in which those sample members were eligible to vote. For those respondents born at the end of the1984 birth cohort, the 2004 election (asked about in round 8) represented the first time they were eligible to vote in a national election. 

Related Questions: In rounds 9 and 11, the self-administered section asks some questions about civic engagement: whether the respondent had attended a meeting or event for a political, environmental, or community group in the last 12 months, whether s/he had donated money to such a cause in the last 12 months, and if so, how much money.

Comparison to Other NLS Surveys: A more extensive set of questions about political participation is asked in select NLSY79 Young Adult surveys; topics covered include voting, party identification, interest in politics and public affairs, attitudes about government, political involvement, and parents’ political interests. In addition, the NLSY79 2008 survey included a few political questions. 

Survey Instruments: These questions can be found in the political participation section (question names begin with YPOL) of the Youth Questionnaire.

Main Area of Interest Attitudes