Jennifer L. Lawless and Richard L. Fox
Running from Office
Why Young Americans Are Turned off to Politics
University Press 2015
Jennifer L. Lawless and Richard L. Fox are the authors of Running from Office: Why Young Americans Are Turned off to Politics (Oxford UP,2015). Lawless is a Professor of Government and the Director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University. Fox is a Professor of Political Science at Loyola Marymount University.
The two conducted surveys of over 4,000 younger Americans. What they find is that their young Americans rarely think, talk or consider politics. While many seem to care about the world, this infrequently translates to running for office or aspirations to work in politics. They find: Just 11 percent of respondents said that they had thought about running office “many times” while 61 percent said they “never” considered it. Asked if various jobs paid the same, they find just 13 percent of respondents said they would want to be a member of Congress, versus 37 percent who chose business executive and 27 percent school principal; only 19 percent indicated that a future goal was to become a political leader. And less than 10% of respondents said that their parents would want them to pursue a job as a member of Congress, compared to around 50 percent for owning a business.