Tens of millions of registered voters did not cast a ballot in the 2016 presidential election, and the share who cited a “dislike of the candidates or campaign issues” as their main reason for not participating reached a new high of 25%, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of new Census Bureau data.
In other recent presidential elections, the share of registered voters who said they didn’t participate because they disliked the candidates or campaign issues was considerably lower. In 2012, for example, 13% cited this as their primary reason. In pre-election polling last year, registered voters expressed far lower levels of satisfaction with their choices of candidates than in prior elections over the past several decades.
While a dislike of the candidates or issues was the most frequently cited reason for not voting, other top reasons included a lack of interest or a feeling that their vote wouldn’t make a difference (15%), being too busy or having a conflicting schedule (14%), having an illness or disability (12%) and being out of town or away from home (8%). Another 11% gave other reasons.