Archive for the ‘monkey cage’ tag
An intriguing, but for the most part, altogether common-sense, article on party identification and what perceived personal and societal shifts in affiliation mean for the body politic suggests that when voters change their minds, it is largely due, not to studying the issues, but to a “vague sense of how things are going with the economy and the presidency”:
They have not shifted because they have calculated that their current party is out-of-synch on some specific policy stand. Others of them have shifted because they simply like Barack Obama. They won’t be able to articulate exactly why they dislike one party and like another, they just ‘know’ they prefer one.
Not to suggest this exhausts the reasons why voters choose certain parties over others, but I would have to agree here, that most of these folks are “nature of the times” voters who likely had no strong party affiliation to begin with, if they had any. In fact, this scenario is quite analogous to religion in some ways. Many churchgoers or religious types (or casual attendees) won’t be able to articulate why they believe in a higher power without running themselves into a tautology or infinite regress or relying solely to ancient texts steeped in mythology and lore without outside validation. Like religious folks, most voters pull the lever based on where they were born or who they were born to without giving the slightest amount of scrutiny to their position, and of course, as this article mentions, relying on opinions that do not challenge, but validate one’s own stance. This, of course, doesn’t describe all, but at this point, we can probably say most, and heck, some even decide based on the likeness of certain candidates to themselves. I thought this quote from the David Brooks column, linked above and here, was telling:
“People often act without knowing why they do what they do,” Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize winner, noted in an e-mail message to me this week. “The fashion of political writing this year is to suggest that people choose their candidate by their stand on the issues, but this strikes me as highly implausible.” — The New York Times, David Brooks, “How Voters Think”
The map from pollster.com shows the increase in the number of Independents in the country over the course of the last several months,
and I would say that an underlying reason by the surge is, again, what I just mentioned. Folks are disillusioned with the Republican brand, given the general failure of the last administration and the comic book line up of candidates we had in the last election cycle (a soccer mom; war hero; Mormon; former mayor, turned 9/11 hero/advocate, the list goes on) that, since they have (had) a flimsy foundation on which to base their views, they couldn’t slip over to the dastardly left (For, they don’t know why they disagree with that side either), so they just default to the Independents, or worse, the ranks of the apathetic.