Those Who Stayed Away

It was just about as bad as the pollsters had predicted. According to preliminary estimates, some 80 million Americans, or under 54% of the 150 million voting-age citizens in the U.S., took the trouble to step into balloting booths. The turnout in 1972, when the outcome was a foregone conclusion, was 55%. By contrast, 91% of the electorate recently cast ballots in West Germany and 90% in Sweden.

Most U.S. opinion polls had indicated that many voters would abstain not because they did not care but because they were disillusioned about government corruption...