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The Psychology of Voting

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  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    BBC, May 6, 2016: The psychology of voting: an emotional matter?

    I have often written about how emotions trump critical thinking in elections. Indeed Frank Luntz, the Republican strategist, was absolutely right when he said,

    “80 percent of our life is emotion, and only 20 percent is intellect. I am much more interested in how you feel than how you think. I can change how you think, but how you feel is something deeper and stronger, and it's something that's inside you. How you think is on the outside, how you feel is on the inside…”

    The BBC article above more or less says much the same thing.

    "The people who know a lot about politics - a group she calls sophisticates - will take facts and policies into account. The might even read the manifestos. People who are less engaged will form a view based on feelings and general impressions."

    Politicians love voters who are less engaged...the low information voter. That's why Donald Trump does so well with his supporting demographic...the older, white man lacking a college degree.

    Hillary will have a hard time changing the brains of the voters in that demographic.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Schmidt Wrote:

    BBC, May 6, 2016: The psychology of voting: an emotional matter?

    I have often written about how emotions trump critical thinking in elections. Indeed Frank Luntz, the Republican strategist, was absolutely right when he said,

    “80 percent of our life is emotion, and only 20 percent is intellect. I am much more interested in how you feel than how you think. I can change how you think, but how you feel is something deeper and stronger, and it's something that's inside you. How you think is on the outside, how you feel is on the inside…”

    The BBC article above more or less says much the same thing.

    "The people who know a lot about politics - a group she calls sophisticates - will take facts and policies into account. The might even read the manifestos. People who are less engaged will form a view based on feelings and general impressions."

    Politicians love voters who are less engaged...the low information voter. That's why Donald Trump does so well with his supporting demographic...the older, white man lacking a college degree.

    Hillary will have a hard time changing the brains of the voters in that demographic.

    Yes Schmidt, right again. Guess who creates these "emotions"? It is our "directed" "doctored" MEDIA which screws up peoples mind, especially here. I said already many times, the "news" here is only pure "sensation" driven, as well censored a certain way. Compared to the news from Europe an huge difference. An "slogan" like "Breaking News" is used for everything to push the hype. It is time someone throws these media billionaires in jail; they have more power over the people than our government.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    People like to be thought of as knowing and intelligent. The majority for whatever reason are not motivated toward research and truth. They will latch onto something they hear in order to be in on the know. Challenge patriotism and manhood to this group and you have a supporter. I left womanhood out because women are far more objective as a result of their stronger maternal instinct. Trump posed the biggest public ever contradiction to this group and won. He said "make America great again" and "be the biggest job maker ever" and "I won't raise the minimum wage". Why would one person let alone millions accept his contradiction. How is making "America Great Again" come from underbidding cheap labor to get jobs? And how smart are the rest of us to support Hillary without conditions. There is a way to a better Country for all through Bernie. He has some good political credit to sell. He could pledge his support and encourage his supporters to vote for her if she makes one promise to keep. But overall there is little chance of Bernie influencing anything. Firm what I saw Bernie was ignored by Pelosi at the Congressional sit in. You just barely saw him in the background.

  • Center Left
    Independent
    Central, FL
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    Schmidt, you always make a great point. If this site had an MVP, you'd get my vote. Feelings....... yes DT is playing that one every day. Hate is a product of fear and the financially challenged have much to fear. Of course, DT has no solution for any problem....... BS is just an inch above DT in my book. He could have been so much but these days I'm hoping he doesn't chew 30 times before swallowing. His input could have been essential but he's become so pathetic that I don't care what he thinks or what he believes. Does anyone think he has a monopoly on good ideas. I know he was going to provide everything you could ever want or need, even if he had no clue on paying for any of it.

    I recently saw a video by Jon Stewart that said negatives about both HC and DT. It made me not happy with either choice. I'm not thrilled with HC but she's by far the lesser of two evils.

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    TJ Wrote:

    Schmidt, you always make a great point. If this site had an MVP, you'd get my vote. Feelings....... yes DT is playing that one every day. Hate is a product of fear and the financially challenged have much to fear. Of course, DT has no solution for any problem....... BS is just an inch above DT in my book. He could have been so much but these days I'm hoping he doesn't chew 30 times before swallowing. His input could have been essential but he's become so pathetic that I don't care what he thinks or what he believes. Does anyone think he has a monopoly on good ideas. I know he was going to provide everything you could ever want or need, even if he had no clue on paying for any of it.

    I recently saw a video by Jon Stewart that said negatives about both HC and DT. It made me not happy with either choice. I'm not thrilled with HC but she's by far the lesser of two evils.

    TJ again I like to emphasize that most of the problem lies with the education here as well an "media" which is run by some "billionaires" who have their own "goals" Very few people here knows how the rest of the world thinks and works. Sorry again this is an "island", just like the UK.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Dutch Wrote: TJ again I like to emphasize that most of the problem lies with the education here as well an "media" which is run by some "billionaires" who have their own "goals" Very few people here knows how the rest of the world thinks and works. Sorry again this is an "island", just like the UK.

    How can you say this and then in the same breath talk about Russia in such glowing terms? Russia has a state run media industry that puts out state sponsored propaganda on a 24/7 basis.

    At least our media has the ability to disagree with our President, Congress, Courts, and everything else. At least my country doesn't block internet access to websites they deem to be against the states political interest.

    My best man just got back from visiting Russia for two weeks with his girlfriend (who happens to be a Russian citizen) and couldn't believe how many websites they block. Would you admit that the vast majority of Russian's are unaware of how the rest of the world thinks of them or is that too much for you to handle?

  • Independent
    Ft.myers, FL
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    Sure Jared, did I mention Russia "in glowing terms"? I was talking about European news, (not Russia) which in general is not an just "sensational' news gathering like here. Why do you think Trump gets all the attention by the news by CNN, Fox and others and even hires the campaign manager of Trump. I must say, then ask your friends girlfriend, that even the censored Russian news is more realistic than ours and does not promote it with all the "sidelines", " hype" and overblown "sensation' as well repeat after repeat with "Breaking News". Nuts indeed. I was talking about news; not the internet or things like it which may be censored in Russia, not in Europe. However my experience is that a lot of US news is censored as well, compared to the same news as I get from Europe.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    One of the divisions that is being revealed by the EU vote is that the young people are accusing the old people of selling them out. Yeah, I might agree that the old people look at things differently than the young people. But consider this:

    The over 65 age group voted in huge numbers: 83 percent voter turn-out and voted 60 percent to leave.

    The 55-64 age group had 81 percent voter turnout and voted 57 percent to leave.

    At the other end of the scale, the 18-24 year olds only had 36 percent turnout and voted 73 percent to remain.

    The 25 to 34 year old group did a bit better at 58 percent turnout and with a 62 percent remain.

    Should old people apologize to the young people for their votes? It would appear to me that the young people were right, but were too lazy to vote. Where have I seen that kind of outcome before?

    There is of course more at play here than age. Emotions played the biggest role.

  • Independent
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    citizenship anywhere is hard work. here very few people actually take the time to learn the issues. of course many issues have become very complex. and we also have media machines as well as policy machines, all undemocratic in nature, pushing various positions and theologies. add in personalities like saint ronnie reagan as well as bird's theorem ("'we the people' are stupid.") and you get what we have. and it appears to be very similar in other countries. i will say that europe seems to be better informed in the aggregate but there are likely plenty of low information voters there as well.
  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Portland, OR
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    Schmidt Wrote: Should old people apologize to the young people for their votes? It would appear to me that the young people were right, but were too lazy to vote. Where have I seen that kind of outcome before?

    This is one of my biggest issues with my generation. I can't tell you how many people in the 25-35 age group I've met that just don't vote because they are convinced their vote doesn't matter. Then they bitch about everything when the Tea Party hijacks our Congress and handcuffs President Obama from getting anything done. It drives me nuts.

  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    I copied this from Robert Reich's Facebook page:

    I don’t get how Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump can be deadlocked (according to a new national poll of registered voters released this morning), with 42 percent supporting her and 40 percent backing him.

    This frankly worries me. Trump hasn’t put up a single television ad, his campaign is in shambles, he has almost no field staff, he’s spent almost zilch and his campaign bank is nearly empty, and he’s been getting nothing but horrible press. Hillary Clinton has been blanketing swing states with ads, her campaign is being run like clockwork and it’s huge, and she’s pulling in and spending money like mad.

    More to the point, Trump is a bigoted petulant egomaniac with the temperament of a hyena. She's experienced, competent, and intelligent.

    What’s going on?

    I posted this under the thread of Psychology of Voting. It does require some psychological analysis...not of Trump, but of his followers...the authoritarian followers who vote their emotions and tribes.

    Go figure...

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Pensacola, FL
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    "She's experienced, competent, and intelligent."

    She has a lot of shadows and questionable actions and is not charismatic and is a typical politicians. She can have all the gold star reviews but that means nothing. She lost big time by going left to out do Bernie. When somebody is shamed into actions two things come across. One is why were they holding out in the first place. The other is they come across as dishonest. Her public speaking generally comes across as text book scripted. Every subject she talks about is introduction, body and closure. Typically using Shakespearean build up to climax then let down and promise or resolution. She tries to say what people want to hear. Trump says what he thinks or appears to do so. Trump is natural with mistakes, lies and gaffs. His followers accept that as what he has to do to help them. After all he is fighting the establishment for them. I said before that she needs to get down and dirty to fight or at least look like she is fighting him. On the contrary she is looking more establishment than ever. She is coming across as conniving and setting Trump up.

  • Strongly Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Dallas, TX
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    Schmidt Wrote:

    I copied this from Robert Reich's Facebook page:

    I don’t get how Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump can be deadlocked (according to a new national poll of registered voters released this morning), with 42 percent supporting her and 40 percent backing him.

    This frankly worries me. Trump hasn’t put up a single television ad, his campaign is in shambles, he has almost no field staff, he’s spent almost zilch and his campaign bank is nearly empty, and he’s been getting nothing but horrible press. Hillary Clinton has been blanketing swing states with ads, her campaign is being run like clockwork and it’s huge, and she’s pulling in and spending money like mad.

    More to the point, Trump is a bigoted petulant egomaniac with the temperament of a hyena. She's experienced, competent, and intelligent.

    What’s going on?

    I posted this under the thread of Psychology of Voting. It does require some psychological analysis...not of Trump, but of his followers...the authoritarian followers who vote their emotions and tribes.

    Go figure...

    Schmidt,

    Blaming the voter is always going to be a poor strategy. Always.

    In sales, we're taught to take ownership. There is a reason people that who should vote Democratic vote Republican or don't vote. It's time we take ownership of the mistakes that have led to that, instead of complaining and whining about the critical thinking skills of the very people we need to persuade.

    Maybe some of the problem is with the Democratic party?

  • Independent
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    Carlitos Wrote:
    Schmidt Wrote:

    I copied this from Robert Reich's Facebook page:

    I don’t get how Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump can be deadlocked (according to a new national poll of registered voters released this morning), with 42 percent supporting her and 40 percent backing him.

    This frankly worries me. Trump hasn’t put up a single television ad, his campaign is in shambles, he has almost no field staff, he’s spent almost zilch and his campaign bank is nearly empty, and he’s been getting nothing but horrible press. Hillary Clinton has been blanketing swing states with ads, her campaign is being run like clockwork and it’s huge, and she’s pulling in and spending money like mad.

    More to the point, Trump is a bigoted petulant egomaniac with the temperament of a hyena. She's experienced, competent, and intelligent.

    What’s going on?

    I posted this under the thread of Psychology of Voting. It does require some psychological analysis...not of Trump, but of his followers...the authoritarian followers who vote their emotions and tribes.

    Go figure...

    Schmidt,

    Blaming the voter is always going to be a poor strategy. Always.

    In sales, we're taught to take ownership. There is a reason people that who should vote Democratic vote Republican or don't vote. It's time we take ownership of the mistakes that have led to that, instead of complaining and whining about the critical thinking skills of the very people we need to persuade.

    Maybe some of the problem is with the Democratic party?

    i agree, carlitos. while there is undoubtedly some degree in some people of voting against interest due to inertia (my family has always voted...) or preconceptions (republicans are all...) many other factors come into play. this is one reason why the concept of god, guns and gays played well for some people. they had interests that those things addressed or at least the party trumpeting them claimed they addressed them. interests isn't only economics.
  • Liberal Democrat
    Democrat
    Colorado Springs, CO
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    Carlitos -- You say, "Maybe some of the problem is with the Democratic party?" Perhaps, but remember that the Democratic Party has a large umbrella, and they absolutely cannot promise everything that their constituents want. There are several issues with regards to voting, and as one who has knocked on hundreds of doors to engage people in conversations about candidates and voting, the voter views are all over the place. In some cases, Democrats lose because of the abortion issue, but we also win on that issue. We lose some voters on guns and gain others because of our stance on gun safety. Ditto on gay marriage, immigration, military and wars, taxes and spending...we win and we lose voters.

    I often quizzed people on what their number one issue was that might influence their vote. Senior citizens usually cited health issues and social security. One senior I interviewed cared about Medicare but couldn't give a shit about the Affordable Care Act. She had hers...selfish.

    With young people it was mostly jobs...some blamed Obama for not having a job, but were totally ignorant of the obstructionism of Republicans in Congress on blocking such things as Obama's Jobs Act.

    I talked to die hard Republicans who supported Obama in 2012 because of the Affordable Care Act (they has a pre-existing condition). On the other hand, one senior woman came to the door with her oxygen bottle and told me she "hated that man"...meaning President Obama.

    I tried talking to some blue collar working families...some were good to me and some swore at me. Some were deeply religious and doubted Obama's Christianity. " He's not one of us." They said they supported Romney.

    When it comes to young people, I tried especially hard to engage them. I found their registered addresses and climbed their apartment steps to find them. It was probably the largest disappointment of my outreach endeavors. For the most part, the young people were totally ignorant of candidates and the issues, and just brushed me off when I asked them what their hot button issues were. For the most part, they just didn't seem to care, and I got the feeling that it was not that they felt marginalized economically (some of those apartments were pretty nice), but rather that they just had other interests, and politics was not one of them.

    When I look back at what my interest were in my early 20s, I would say I would have fitted right in with them. Such is the case with the young people of the United Kingdom that didn't vote on the referendum. Now I read in the news that Japan has lowered the voting age to 18 in an attempt to get young people more engaged in the political process. Young people not voting is not a result of the Democratic Party and President Obama. He has more than any candidate and president in recent times reached out to all demographics, especially young people, to get them to vote. Yet he failed miserably in 2010 and 2014. Does he not excite young voters? Why does Bernie Sanders, a man who has spent 25 years in Congress, and having nothing to show for it, suddenly become the "new Obama"...the anti-establishment candidate whose anti-establishment message sounds very similar to Donald Trump's anti-establishment message?

    I don't have the answer. I scratch my head. I commend Sanders for energizing the young people where I had failed. However, I had real doubts about the reality of his campaign promises and his ability to deliver on anything.

    I will make one prediction, however, that on November 9th, the day after election day as the votes are tallied, the difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will be about two percentage points. Gary Johnson and Jill Stein will keep either candidate from getting over 50 percent. For the most part, people will vote their emotions, their tribes or stay home. A relatively smaller percentage will spend time really analyzing the various issues of the day. It will be one issue mostly, and sometimes that issues will be a vote against the other person instead of a vote for the candidate of their choice.

    The Bernie Sanders supporters will largely support Hillary, but many of them so ideologically driven simply cannot. Some will vote for Trump...hopefully not many or else they may get what they voted for.