We all have voted at one point of our life. With the elections running in India, this article looks at the psychology behind voting behavior. Read on.
The election season is active in India as the voters are exercising their right to elect the next Prime Minister of India. While the Lok Sabha elections are proving to be a feisty affair as the election campaigning reach fever pitch, but how does a voter make a decision?
This article talks about the psychology of voting behavior and how research has tried to analyze elections, especially voters.
The Altruistic Act of Voting
Voting in itself is one of the most altruistic acts that a person can do. A person takes out time and makes an effort to cast his/her vote, in which he/she may not even get the reward. It is an act for the hope of greater good of society.
So, it is always interesting to know what motivates one to vote. Research over the years has tried to answer by analyzing various data sets over the years in the context of western nations. Let’s see what they talk about.
The most powerful indicator of a voter’s preference is his/her identification towards a particular political party. If a person, for example, has over the course of his life has always associated with one party, he/she is more likely to vote for that party.
Research has shown that this association usually strengthens as the voter gets old. So, this is a fairly strong predictor of a voter’s motivation.
Perception of the Candidate
Studies have also shown that the voter’s perception of the candidates plays an important role in their voting behavior. Election campaigning plays an important role in creating and maintaining perceptions about the candidates.
That is why most campaigns save their advertising money for the last phase of the campaign to try to have a last impression before the voter votes.
First Impression is the Lasting Impression
However, research has shown that first impressions are very powerful. It usually informs the voter early on about the candidate. So, ideally, it would be best if the candidate used his campaign money on early advertisements.
Excited About Newcomers
Another assumption among political observers is that people are cynical about politicians and often expect the worst from them. But interestingly research has shown that people are actually eager to learn about new and upcoming candidates in elections.
They actually approach the new politician with optimism and hope for someone, to be honest about his/her work. For example, when the Aam Aadmi Party came, it was earlier accepted by all as a party that would bring change in politics in India.
Ill-Information Works Best
Studies have shown that voters are especially attuned to unfavorable information about political candidates. If a voter learns a bad thing about a candidate which damages his reputation, that information is more likely to stick.
On the other hand, any good information learned by the voters about the candidate doesn’t have that much influence. So, that is why we see during election campaigning negative advertisements everywhere criticizing the opponent.
The Primary Effect
There are also various voters who remain unaffected by all the campaigning and remain undecided till the voting day. They make their decision on the voting day itself. It has been found that sometimes the undecided voter, often makes the decision based on what’s the name of the voting list.
As a result, it has been found that candidates who have the first name in the voting list, end up getting 2.3% more votes on average than other candidates. And that small percentage matters a lot in close election races.
So, no matter who you vote for in this Indian election, remember all of these ways that you, the voter is influenced into voting. Happy voting everyone, till then cheers and keep exploring yourself with Braindpundits!