If You Don’t Vote, You Might Be A Bad Member of Society

If you thought you were a good, upstanding citizen in society, you might be wrong. Pew Research published a study that questions respondents on what criteria they feel measure whether people are good members of society. Researchers polled individuals from different countries and demographics to find out what people have to say about it. According to the study, voting is the number one marker of being a good member.

If You Don’t Vote, You’re Out

According to the survey, most people believe that to be considered a good member of society, you need to vote. Across all nations that participated in the poll, a median of 91% say voting is important, and 73% consider it very important.

Voting is essential for many reasons. Some may think their one vote won’t make much difference, but some of the closest elections have come down to the last few votes. The 2022 midterm elections are a perfect example of this. 

Inflation, the looming recession, and the reversal of Roe v. Wade were crucial issues addressed on many of the ballots. Every last vote counted in this election, and in many races, the margin between the two candidates was so slim that it came down to a few votes. Some elections have not even concluded because counties are still counting ballots. 

Everyone’s vote matters, especially with multiple hot-button topics at the forefront of people’s minds. This month’s election perfectly represents why people list voting as their number one factor in determining if someone is a good member of society.

Other Criteria

Although voting is considered an essential criterion for respondents, it is not the only element on the list. Other vital markers are helping to improve the environment and promoting public health.

A majority of respondents say that taking steps to reduce global climate change and getting a Covid-19 vaccine is also very important. Respondents also believe that good citizens need to be informed about current affairs.

Medians of around 80% say it is essential to keep up with current events in other countries and politics within their own country. Many also believe that good members of society should be prepared to take to the streets when significant issues are at stake.

A median of 57% of respondents say good citizens should join demonstrations about issues they find important. Overall, 22% feel that protesting is essential, and Spain had the most significant percentage, with 54% expressing this view.

Few respondents see attending religious services as a requirement to be considered a good citizen. Across all of the countries polled, only 14% believe attending religious services is essential. Individual countries also have their own statistics on the importance of attending the ceremonies.

Attending religious services is not as big of a deal in the United States. White Evangelical Christians feel the strongest about it. 49% of them believe that attending religious ceremonies and services is important.

Americans also poll the second lowest for believing it is crucial to stay up-to-date on the current events in other countries. Only 22% think it is vital for good citizenship, compared to Israel, which had the lowest share at 15%.

The Great Divide

While many ideological differences exist between the nations that participated in the poll, some of the most prominent divisions come from within. In the United States, for example, there are considerable ideological differences when it comes to the subject of climate change. 

Those who fall on the ideological left are more likely to support taking steps to combat climate change and categorize it as a crucial factor in being considered a good citizen. 66% of self-identified liberals in the United States believe that taking steps and making decisions to fight climate change are very important for being a good citizen. Only 19% of self-identified conservatives believe this to be true.

Across the nations, left-leaning individuals are most likely to encourage others to participate in demonstrations for issues they feel strongly about. Right-leaning individuals place more value in attending religious services.

Age is another demographic that causes a divide across the countries in the survey. Older individuals are more likely to believe that to be considered a good member of society, people should vote, get their Covid-19 vaccine, and stay updated on domestic and international current events.

Young adults tend to lean more towards protesting as a suitable measure for whether or not someone is a good member of society.

There is a substantial gender divide as well, especially on the topic of climate change. In almost all of the countries included in the poll, women are more likely than men to consider taking steps to fight climate change very important for being a good member of society.

71% of Swedish women believe climate change is an important marker, compared to 49% of Swedish men.

The Clear Winner

Every country polled large majorities when it came to whether voting is an important part of being a good citizen. The countries with the highest polling results were Sweden, Canada, and South Korea. 

90% of respondents in Sweden believe voting is an essential criterion to be considered a good member of society, compared to 84% of respondents in Canada and 84% of respondents in South Korea.

Poland, Belgium, and Israel polled the lowest for voting as the most important criterion. 52% of respondents believe voting is very important, compared to 57% of respondents in Belgium and 57% in Israel.

Getting Vaxxed Is Important Too

Every country also polled large majorities regarding whether or not getting your Covid-19 vaccination is essential to being a good member of society. Singapore, Sweden, and Spain polled the highest in this category.

72% of respondents in Singapore believe getting the coronavirus vaccine is very important, compared to 71% of respondents in Sweden and 70% in Spain.

France, South Korea, Hungary, and Poland polled the lowest in this category. 41% of respondents believe that getting the coronavirus vaccine is very important to be considered a good citizen, compared to 41% of respondents in South Korea, 40% in Hungary, and 33% in Poland.

Partisan preferences are also a significant factor in determining whether people think vaccination is crucial to being a good member of society. In every country that participated in the study, individuals who support the party or parties currently in charge are far more likely to believe that vaccination is important.

The United States is one of the most polarized countries on this topic, with 64% of Democrats and Democrat-leading independents believing getting vaccinated is crucial, compared to 20% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

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