Driving Towards Political Apathy

Long commutes hinder political engagement:

That is an implication of new research by political scientists Benjamin NewmanJoshua Johnson, and Patrick Lown.  They show that Americans who report longer commutes say they are less involved in politics. … Notably, Newman and colleagues show that the potential impact of commuting on our political involvement doesn’t arise just because more hours in the car means fewer hours to watch the news, write letters to members of Congress, or vote.  If it were just a question of time, then we might expect people who work long hours to be less involved in politics too.  But that isn’t true: people who report working more hours are no more or less likely to participate in politics.  Instead, the authors argue that commuting depletes our psychological resources in unique ways.  In short, commuting makes us feel bad, and this leaves us with less energy for pursuits like politics.