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Journal of the Indiana Academy of the Social Sciences

Document Type

Article

Abstract

The Indiana Civic Health Index (INCHI) recently reported some noteworthy statistics regarding voting turnout, civic engagement, social connectedness, and volunteerism in the Hoosier state. Using survey results of 300 students registered to vote at Indiana University Northwest conducted by a SPEA graduate statistics class, the present study compares the INCHI results to those at Indiana University Northwest. Then, applying a social capital framework, voting likelihood is predicted based upon civic engagement, social connectedness, and volunteerism, holding demographics constant. The results reveal a higher than average voting turnout in 2008 and 2010, higher levels of civic engagement, volunteerism, and social connectedness to strong bonds yet also finds students being less likely to eat dinner frequently with family and/or friends and having weak social ties with neighbors. Logistic regression reveals only one factor—discussing politics daily—to be a significant predictor of voting likelihood in both the 2008 and 2010 elections, while belonging to 4 types of civic groups significantly predicted voting in 2010. These results are consistent with previous research that questions the link between measures of civic engagement and voting likelihood. This work concludes by discussing improving the weak ties of students and increasing the frequency with which politics is discussed within the campus community.

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