THE EMPTY POLLING BOOTH by Arthur T. Hadley

THE EMPTY POLLING BOOTH

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An increase in voting won't make our government any better,"" says former Newsweek correspondent Arthur Hadley, and ""an increase in refraining, which is probable, won't make it any worse."" Although it hardly seems worth going on after this conclusion, Hadley does, in minute detail, coming up with six categories of ""refrainers,"" ranging from ""positive apathetics"" who are too content to care about voting, to the ""cross-pressured"" who can't make up their minds. He destroys the stereotype of the non-voter as ""Boobus Americanus""--only 13 percent of his sample ""came close""--and finds the biggest difference between voters and non-voters in their attitudes toward life. (57 percent of the voters think life is a matter of planning, while 54 percent of the refrainers feel it is a matter of luck.) The book is overloaded with statistics, in addition to tables at the end, and it is sprinkled with inane descriptions of those interviewed--""Frank D. is 31 years old, takes pride in his skill as a plastic extrusion press operator, and is hopeful that Ted Kennedy will some day run for President."" Hadley's conclusion after all this: better candidates and more relevant issues will bring more people to the polls. A book that tries to sound important, but has little real substance.

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 1978
Publisher: Prentice-Hall