Polling Director of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government Institute of Politics John Della Volpe discusses trends in political attitudes and participation of young Americans.
Political Participation refers to the efforts of individual citizens to directly or indirectly impact public policy. By far, the most common form of political participation is voting, but Americans also engage in political participation by: expressing political views to others (in person or online), donating time or money to election campaigns, communicating with elected officials, signing and/or creating petitions, joining political organizations, attending government meetings, serving within their communities, running for office, and participating in activism events. Activism events can be either directly related to policy (such as the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom) or indirectly related (those intended to raise awareness of societal issues, such as Race for the Cure or Red Ribbon Week). Since voting is the most common mechanism of participation (in the United States and around the world), political scientists and pundits often focus on election turnout numbers to gauge political participation and its impact.