Political apathy in the American
Erin Moffet / Opinions Editor
Elon University is privileged to have the resources to
conduct a very well-respected poll of North Carolina
residents. This allows students to get hands-on experience on
how public opinion is obtained.Public opinion plays a vital
role in the American government.
The most recent poll was conducted in the middle of
November. This poll had many important issues to discuss.
At the time of the poll, nationally, President Bush was
still suffering from extremely low approval ratings and
Congress was asking for an exit plan from Iraq. On the state
level, the newly adopted N.C. state lottery was coming under
some scrutiny over the level of trust in who would be in
charge of its funds.
Questions concerning these popular issues, along with other
surrounding issues such as taxes, were asked in the survey.
It was unreal to see how many people did not participate in
the survey. And it was not that they chose to just not
participate in the survey; they were very rude about even
being asked to do so.
Everyone should jump at the opportunity to be able to voice
their opinions, especially in a forum in which the government
is listening and reacting. This apathy towards participating
in the political process, even just on the level of a poll,
is exactly what is hurting democracy.
The introduction to the poll stated that it would last
roughly eight to ten minutes. That is such a short amount of
time for something with such a big impact on the government.
Yet people still complained that they did not have the time
to participate in the democratic process.
Other people declined to participate because they were
uninterested in politics or because they did not think their
opinion mattered. Some people were just annoyed by being
asked to participate. These feelings that caused people not
to participate are disappointing.
The government affects everyone and therefore, everyone
should have an interest in it. Not necessarily in parties and
candidates, but in simple things like taxes that everyone is
sure to know about and have an opinion on since it affects
And to the people who think that their opinion does not
matter:you are very wrong. It is hard for the government to
listen to everyone's opinions, which is why polls are
conducted. Polls are a way that the government can get a feel
for the views of the American people.
So by not participating in the Elon Poll, many people missed
out on a valuable opportunity to voice their opinion, where
it will be evaluated by government officials.
People should not be agitated by being asked to participate,
they should be thankful to have such an opportunity.
Ten minutes is not a lot to ask from someone for the
importance of the results of a survey on government actions.
A democracy is defined as "rule by the people." If
the people fail to take the initiative and the time to
participate in the numerous forums available to them, then
they are failing democracy.
Failure of democracy through peoples' apathy is the only
way that peoples' opinions and participation will be
remain unheard and unimportant.
So to everyone who feels that they are not an important part
of the government and therefore choose not to participate,
those actions are what cause the lack of importance of the
common people in government actions taken after surveys like
Contact Erin Moffet at firstname.lastname@example.org or