What reasons do Americans give for not voting in 2022?

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
November 16, 2022, 1:20 PM GMT+0

A little more than one in three U.S. adult citizens — 37% — say they did not vote in the 2022 congressional elections. This includes Americans who weren't registered to vote, as well as 13% of Americans who were registered but did not vote. What reasons do people offer for not voting? The most commonly cited ones, according to a YouGov poll fielded shortly after the polls closed on Election Day, are a dislike of the candidates, a lack of time, and a feeling that voting wouldn't have mattered.

The largest share of non-voters — 52% — say one reason they didn't vote is that they didn't like any of the candidates, including 24% who say this is a major reason and 28% who say it is a minor reason. Many also say they didn't vote because they were too busy (48% say this is a major or minor reason), believed their vote didn't matter (48%), or didn't have time to research the candidates and proposals (45%). Roughly two in five cite each of several logistical concerns: a lack of transportation to the polls (41%), being required to vote in person (39%), or not knowing how or where to vote (36%). Voter registration also keeps some from voting: 28% cite as a reason for not voting the fact that they're registered in a different state, 28% cite missing the deadline to register, and 27% cite not knowing how or where to register.

Before presenting respondents who didn't vote with the questions citing specific possible reasons for not voting, we asked them to tell us in their own words why they didn't vote. Many correspond to the reasons shown in the chart above but some nonvoters cite other obstacles and explanations. Below, we present select quotes derived from their responses, edited for spelling and grammar:

— Carl Bialik and Linley Sanders contributed to this article

This poll was conducted on November 8 - 9, 2022, among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this poll.

Image: Adobe Stock (Odua Images)

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