Encouraging Civic Engagement
Thirty-six variables were arrayed according to whether they have a positive, neutral, or negative influence on both voting (“passive” civic engagement) and ISI’s combined measure of “active” civic engagement.*
Explanatory Variable Likelihood of Voting (passive) Degree of engagement (active)
Greater Civic Knowledge Positive Positive
Frequent discussion of public affairs and history Positive Positive
Frequent reading of current events and history Positive Positive
Frequent religious attendance Neutral Positive
Frequent viewing of TV news and documentaries Neutral Positive
Higher Age Positive Positive
Higher Income Neutral Positive
Liberal and Democrat Positive Positive
Conservative and Republican Positive Positive
K–12 Teacher Neutral Positive
College Teacher Negative Positive
Bachelor’s Degree Positive Neutral
High School Degree Positive Neutral
Master’s Degree Neutral Neutral
Doctoral Degree Neutral Neutral
Frequent hours reading websites Negative Neutral
Frequent use of social networking sites Neutral Neutral
Frequent emailing Neutral Neutral
Frequent telephone usage Neutral Neutral
Frequent viewing of movies Neutral Neutral
Frequent viewing of prime-time television Neutral Neutral
Frequent listening to music Neutral Neutral
Frequent reading of fiction Negative Neutral
Married Positive Neutral
Parent Positive Neutral
Minority Positive Neutral
Female Neutral Neutral
Muslim Neutral Neutral
Northeast Neutral Neutral
Named all three original American Idol judges Neutral Neutral
Frequent playing of video games Negative Negative
Judeo-Christian Neutral Negative
Foreign National Negative Negative
Learning Handicap Neutral Positive
English Primary Childhood Language Neutral Neutral
Supports instruction of American civics Neutral Neutral
*The seven electoral activities combined to form a single measure of active civic engagement included 1) influencing how others vote; 2) attending political meetings; 3) working on a campaign; 4) giving money to a campaign; 5) contacting a public official; 6) signing a petition; and 7) publishing a letter to the editor.