Voter identity may matter more than policy

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Plazma Inferno!, Oct 19, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    You might expect that voters are looking at the candidates’ positions on the issues and casting their ballots for whomever best matches their own policy preferences. But researchers at Duke University say this is only sometimes the case. In a paper published in Trends in Cognitive Science, they argue that for many people, casting a vote has more to do with reinforcing a sense of self—perhaps as a progressive, a Christian, or a member of a minority community—than making a political decision. That’s why they’re calling for a new way to predict voter behavior by shifting emphasis from policy issues to voter identity.
    Voting as identity reinforcement has an immediate effect. You check the box or tap the screen and feel that you’ve acted in accordance with your self-image. In contrast, one vote rarely sways an election, and the effects of an election on policy are often not seen until far in the future, after a candidate has taken office, if at all.
    Despite this, traditional voter prediction models still put questions about policy front-and-center. Voters are asked to rank policy issues by importance, and the model selects the candidate whose platform best matches their positions. It’s a familiar format to anyone who’s used an online tool to calculate which candidates most agree with you on election issues. The models assume that people make decisions as if they were considering the costs and benefits of each relevant factor, weighted by the importance of that factor.

    https://www.researchgate.net/blog/p...ill-vote-identity-may-matter-more-than-policy

    Study: http://www.cell.com/trends/cognitive-sciences/fulltext/S1364-6613(16)30131-0
     
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  3. ForrestDean Registered Senior Member

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    Interesting. I guess that kinda explains why I don't participate in the election game.
     
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  5. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    I would ask you to expand on that, please; it's an interesting perspective.

    For my part, I think part of the problem is fundamental hardlining, and, yes, one side is exceptionally more problematic than the other.

    The asymmetric extremism that has the two main currents of political ideology so polarized won't last forever; until the one side, which refuses compromise, comes back to functional policy attitude, there really isn't any ground for movement between those who identify to any partisan degree. Indeed, the difference is so stark the fallacy of the middle-ground, undecided voter is on pretty raw display this cycle.

    Essentially, as near as I can describe it in simple terms: When it is "yes" or "no", and the compromise point is to say "yes" but make sure we fail, it is no compromise at all.
     
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  7. ForrestDean Registered Senior Member

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    Well I agree with the following quote:
    So, for myself personally I have no preference towards identifying myself with anything, so even if I did participate in the elections my decision would not be based upon any personal preference, mindset, values, priorities, or lifestyle. I would do it for no other reason than to entertain myself, which is what I did when Obama ran in 2008 for the first time. The only reason I voted for Obama was because he is black: not because of race, but because it was just something different. I did not base my decision upon any policies or personal preferences. I just did it for fun. I would've literally voted for a militant black Muslim woman just for laughs.
     
  8. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    It's good to know the human and civil rights of your neighbors, their very existential condition, are mere matters for your amusement.
     
  9. ForrestDean Registered Senior Member

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    Hehe, I also enjoy playing board games from time to time. However, did you know that when I play a game of monopoly it has no effect on the existential condition of my neighbors?
     
  10. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

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    I can't promise you a thing about the quantum potentials.
     
  11. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The article made no mention of any consistent pattern in the degree to which one's identity politics set one at odds with one's own policy preferences.

    Apparently we are to assume that all kinds of people are more or less equally and equivalently prone to forswearing their policy preferences in pursuit of identification.

    I doubt that's true.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2016

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