May 27, 2004

Voter apathy

A disappointingly low 65 million people voted for American Idol last night, compared to a voter turnout of 105 million (51.3% of the voting age population) at the 2000 US presidential election.

Still, Americans are proving to be far more consciencious than Europeans in exercising their participatory entertainment rights. Only 4,267,791 people voted in the Eurovision Song Contest two weeks ago, compared to a voter turnout of around 150 million (49.4%) at the 1999 European Parliament elections. (This didn't stop ESC organizers from calling Istanbul 2004 "the biggest voting event in the history of television.")

Still, on a regional level, the news is not all bad: "'More people in the UK voted in Channel 4's Big Brother than in the European Parliament elections', [European Parliament President] Pat Cox said. 'This is something profoundly disturbing'."

Posted by Stefan at 08:18 AM GMT

I'm not sure if you're trying to make a dig at low voter turn out or not, but it's important to keep in mind that the majority of people voting for American Idol are probaby under 18 years of age. When you factor that in, the closeness of the numbers is not at all shocking or disturbing.

Posted by: Brad Root on May 27, 2004 07:12 PM

Also good to consider that the 65 million votes probably doesn't correspond to 65 million people, as each person can vote an unlimited number of times. If we had power-dialers for voters in National elections, perhaps Nader would be President. :P

Posted by: Jason Shindler on May 27, 2004 07:36 PM