The citizens' reactions to what they see in the political world are reflected in the attitudes.
It's easy to understand why attitudes have changed.
Negative information about the leadership in Washington, D.C. has dominated the public airwaves amid repeated scandals and increasing partisanship.
The generation that came of age during the Nixon Watergate scandal had a lower turnout.
The United States saw the highest turnout in decades as a result of President Obama raising expectations for a more inclusive, cleaner, and less partisan politics.
The hyperpartisanship that followed lowered people's estimation of the president, Congress, and politics in general.
Democratic voter turnout was down in 2010, especially among young voters, as discussed earlier, in part because midterm election turnout always drops but also possibly reflecting frustration with Obama's inability to change the tone as he had promised and with the continued partisanship in politics.
Some voters were drawn to the polls by the appeals of Vermont senator and billionaire Donald Trump.
A change in the efforts of politicians, interest groups, and especially political parties to make direct contact with people during election campaigns is a factor that political scientists argue has led to lower turnout from the 1960s into the 2000s.
Making phone calls, knocking on doors, or even providing rides to the polls are some of the ways it can be done.
Some of the decline in voter turnout is due to larger societal changes rather than to citizen reactions to parties and is related to how tightly knit their communities and families are.
As people leave the communities in which they grew up, live alone, and join fewer groups like religious and social organizations, they lose their ties to the larger community and have less of a stake in participating in communal decisions.
A rational act for a given individual is the final element in the decision of whether or not to vote.
The benefits of an action outweigh the costs.
It makes sense for us to do things from which we get back more than we put in.
Voting requires resources, time, and effort.
If someone views voting as a way to influence government and sees no other benefits, it becomes a largely irrational act.
The benefits of voting go beyond the likelihood of changing the outcome of the election.
Studies show that turnout decisions are not based on our thinking that our votes will determine the outcome.
We achieve other benefits from voting.
Like joining an interest group, there are benefits to voting as well.
We get social rewards from our politically involved friends for voting, and avoid sarcastic remarks for not voting, because it feels good to do what we think we are supposed to do.
Regardless of which side wins, these benefits accrue.
When there are low barriers to voting, voters are more likely to castballot.
Membership in a church or civic group increases voter participation.
The psychological benefits are not distributed equally in the electorate.
The rewards from voting are higher for those in the middle class than for those in the working class.
The socially and economically connected get more from voting as well as the policy benefits.
The voter's decision to vote is only part of the equation.
The question of who to vote for is shaped by party loyalty and group identity as much as by the candidates and the issue positions they take.
Party identification is the biggest factor accounting for how people decide to vote.
Party ID is relatively stable for most citizens, carrying over from one election to the next in what one scholar has called a standing decision.
The U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce lent its support to a voter registration effort that would make taco trucks a center for signing up more voters.
A Latino supporter of Donald Trump said that the nation would have a "taco truck on every corner" if immigration from Mexico was not stopped.
The influence of party ID on voting decisions is demonstrated by the fact that voters' party ID colors their views on policy issues and their evaluation of candidates, leading them to judge their party's candidate and issue positions as superior.
The 1960 election was about whether or not the nation would have a Catholic president.
Almost all of the Roman Catholics supported John F. Kennedy, compared to just 37 percent of the Protestants.
Jimmy Carter was a Baptist and the Democrats ran him for president.
Catholics voted Democratic at 58 percent, while Protestants voted Democratic at 46 percent.
It's not clear how gender affects voting decisions.
Women are more likely to support the Democratic candidate because of the gender gap in the positions men and women take on the issues.
Since 1964, women have been more supportive of the Democratic candidate in every presidential election but one, and the Democrats wanted to put women's issues at the forefront during the 2016 campaign.
There is a question as to whether the gender of a candidate affects the women's vote.
There was no evidence in the 2008 exit polls that the McCain-Palin ticket swayed women to vote.
According to exit polls, Hillary Clinton benefited from a gender gap, but not as much as Barack Obama.
College-educated women voted for her more than those without a degree.
Since the 1960s, African Americans have tended to vote Democratic.
The African American vote went for the Democratic candidate in 90 percent of the presidential elections from 1988 to 2004.
In 2008 and 2012 African American support for the Democratic ticket was 95 percent and 93 percent, but in 2016 it fell to 88 percent.