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The Unheavenly ChorusUnequal Political Voice and the Broken Promise of American Democracy$
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Kay Lehman Schlozman, Sidney Verba, and Henry E. Brady

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691154848

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691154848.001.0001

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Does Unequal Political Voice Matter?

Does Unequal Political Voice Matter?

(p.117) 5 Does Unequal Political Voice Matter?
The Unheavenly Chorus

Kay Lehman Schlozman

Sidney Verba

Henry E. Brady

Princeton University Press

This chapter investigates three conditions under which inequalities of political voice would not make a difference. That is, the chapter asks if political voice, even though not universal, were representative; if public officials were not responsive to what they hear through the medium of citizen participation; or if they made special efforts to learn about and respond to the preferences and needs of the politically inactive, inequality of political voice would not pose a challenge to democratic governance. In fact, the chapter reveals that none of these three conditions is met. Although surveys show that voters and nonvoters do not differ substantially in their policy views as measured by responses to questions on surveys, forms of political participation other than voting and some politically relevant characteristics are both considered, this chapter finds that political voice is unrepresentative in important ways.

Keywords:   political voice, unequal political voice, public officials, political inactivity, surveys, voters, nonvoters, political participation

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