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Poll: Do You Vote With Your Gut?

Scientific research suggests that we vote with our guts. In other words, our voting decisions are impacted more by anxiety and enthusiasm than by reason or logic. If we can identify with a candidate, we are more likely to vote for him or her.

According to Newsweek, most people have "cognitive-processing limitations" — meaning we cannot or will not learn about and remember candidates' records or positions. Um, whatever. I have a feeling it has more to do with the fact that politicians tailor their message depending on which crowd they're speaking to — or perhaps it's a result of the 24-hour news circuit, which replays irrelevant gaffs or tears over and over again.

So if we're not conducting detailed policy analysis, and political party affiliation doesn't matter in primaries, how do we chose a candidate?

This year, issue positions aren't much of a help, because the candidates don't differ that much (making my decision that much more difficult!!). So, we're left with the personality factor. Various scholars contend that we choose the candidate that we identify with, or that makes us feel good. The article offers this priceless example from the 1976 primaries.

While campaigning in Texas, Ford ate, or tried to eat, a tamale without first removing its corn-husk wrapper. He nearly choked on it. Mexican-American voters inferred from this — reasonably — that Ford didn't know much about them or their culture, and that it therefore made sense to pull the lever for Reagan.

So, how many of you vote with your gut?


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