Like her or not, Hillary Clinton may be a cure for political apathy
America is often described as an increasingly divided nation, and when it comes to Hillary Rodham Clinton, that couldn’t be truer. A recent poll by the Wall Street Journal and NBC News found her negative rating to be just two points less than her positive rating, at 41 and 43 percent respectively.
The point, though, is that people care about Clinton — and that’s usually the case whenever there’s a woman on the ballot, according to a new study.
Researchers at Arizona State University reported a demonstrable link between women senators and women’s political engagement. When women voters are represented by senators of their gender, they are more likely to vote, donate to a candidate, belong to a political organization, or get other people “to vote for a particular candidate.”
This is all good news as, if you take voter turnout as a measure, Americans are awfully apathetic about politics. The US ranks 120th out of 169 countries when it comes to voter turnout. Just 54% of eligible voters showed up at the polls on election day in 2012, and in the 2010 midterm elections, turnout was a dismal 37%.
The apathy problem is exacerbated by the fact that women, who represent half of the population, are less informed about and invested in politics than men. “Even at the start of the 21st century,” write Kim Fridkin and Patrick Kenney, the authors of the report, “women know far less about their senators than men.” Other studies show that women tend to be less informed about national and international politics than men are.