The dirty little secret of national elections is that nobody votes and politicians like it that way, says Benjamin Ginsberg, a political scientist and expert on presidential politics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
"The truth is, nobody votes and nobody wants them to vote," says Ginsberg, explaining that if large numbers of people who have not voted began to vote, it would be difficult for politicians to predict the outcomes of elections.
For instance, he said, in an election where 20 percent of the electorate votes and a candidate gets 60 percent of that vote, that's actually only 12 percent of the total electorate. Incumbents, especially, don't want to see large voter turnout, says Ginsberg.
Adam Sheingate, a political scientist and assistant professor at Hopkins who is teaching a course on the U.S. presidency, says that in this tight presidential race, a few key states will determine the outcome.
"If Gore is going to win, he has to carry Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida and hold onto Wisconsin," Sheingate says. "Weather is definitely going to be a factor. Bad weather will suppress voter turnout."
When all is said and done, Sheingate believes Gore will prevail. "If I had to bet, I'd put a bet on Gore." That's because he believes Ralph Nader supporters, who could take votes away from Gore and help Bush, will either not show up to vote, or, if they do, once they get there, they'll vote for Gore, knowing a vote for Nader will help elect Bush.
"It's just terribly close," Sheingate says.
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