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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Determinants of Political Participation in Urban Politics: A Los Angeles Case Study


Levels of participation in Los Angeles are historically low (Almendrala, 2013; Sonenshein et al., 2014; Welsh, 2013). This trend concerns scholars and political activists alike (Lozano, 2006; Sonenshein, 2006). Increasing levels of political participation in Los Angeles, and nationally, requires understanding what moves people to become active. Analysis of polling conducted by the Pat Brown Institute sheds light on some of the factors that influence participation in Los Angeles. This analysis shows that voting frequency and political participation are largely motivated by education and political interest; access to news media does not appear to have a significant impact on neither voting nor participation. These factors underlie the phenomenon that whites are more likely to participate than non-whites, and those who are older more than those who are younger. This analysis provides inferences on what proposals might increase participation in Los Angeles, particularly among minority and younger voters.

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