Skip to comments.5 Myths About Our Ballot-Box Behavior
Posted on 01/08/2008 12:15:45 PM PST by forkinsocket
We haven't even made it to the New Hampshire primary, but millions of Americans are already sick of hearing about the 2008 race. Bad as the torrent of news is, I find the repetition of myths about voters and voting even more galling. Whether you're arguing with friends or watching the news, you hear many claims about how American democracy works that just aren't true.
1. People vote their self-interest.
In fact, there is only the tiniest correlation between income and party. The country is not divided into two camps: the poor, who vote Democrat, and the rich, who vote Republican. If you consider your own experiences, this is hardly surprising: Are your rich friends really Republicans and your poor friends Democrats?
Self-interest is also a bad predictor of views about specific issues. Yes, the elderly heavily support Social Security and Medicare, but so does almost everyone else. The old bumper sticker says, "If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament," but men are actually slightly more pro-choice than women. And so on. Pollsters have found a few exceptions where self-interest really matters, such as smoking restrictions, which smokers obviously tend to oppose. But overall, where voters stand has little to do with where they sit.
2. Unselfish voting will solve our problems.
We often blame political problems on the selfishness of our fellow citizens. If people would just sacrifice their own interests for the country's good, our problems would be solved, right?
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
No the TRUTH is a lot of uninformed and ignorant idiots are reading news papers and listening to the so-called “polls” and voting the way the “polls” are reading, thus making the polls come true. What a crock. Polls ought to just be outlawed.
Good article, written by one of Dr. Walter Williams’ colleagues at GMU.
I’d tend to agree with this, but I’d broaden it out a bit to include whatever the MSM is pushing. People here on FR still underestimate the power the MSM wields over the average voter.
They MSM be dying, but it’s a slow, lingering, death and they can still do horrific damage, regardless of the efforts of place likes this, blogs, etc.
Manages to miss the elephant in the room on this one.
That is the fact that what we believe is "the good" varies dramatically from one person to another. The leftist vision of the ideal society is very different from the conservative vision.
The argument is not just over what route to take, it's about where we should be headed. Those kinds of disagreements don't get settled by people being "less selfish."
The elderly just give SS and medicare pre-eminence over all other concerns, and screw their supposed traditional values.
"The old bumper sticker says, 'If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament,' but men are actually slightly more pro-choice than women."
It's news that men want sex with no consequences?
Myth, untruth number 6......If the Mayor’s name was Daley, or Rendell, the voting population of “The Notch” up there would double?...LOL....
The worst thing about election polls is the constant horse-race coverage that drives out news or commentary about actual substance.
This is flawed. It isn't about amount of income, it's about source of income. Low income people in the private sector don't get much of anything out of socialism. Higher income people whose income comes from the government or a government protected monopoly don't get much of anything out of free market capitalism.
And for many people, satisfaction of life is about enforcing their morality (or lack of such) more than income.
All of these people are voting their self interests 100%, and if they say they aren't they're lying.
It’s interesting to see what the WAPO considers a myth.
from the article:
But for every voter who overestimates the benefits of tariffs, carbon taxes and the Iraq war, doesn’t another make the opposite mistake?
Actually, no. Voters are frequently wrong in the same way. This is particularly clear in economics. If you’ve never studied economics, you’re not equally likely to oversell or downplay the benefits of free trade. Instead, people who know nothing about economics are staunch protectionists, and people who know a lot of economics are avid free-traders.
The fact that voters’ errors fail to cancel out seems strange. Why would people have strong opinions about a subject they’ve never studied? The simple answer is that a lot of voters are irrational, and it shows. In politics and economics, people believe what makes them feel good, even if the evidence is against them. For most Americans, it feels a lot better to scapegoat Mexicans or Chinese for the country’s economic woes than it does to calmly examine the facts.
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