Shock Study: Voters Manipulated by Politicians!Submitted by Michael Nystrom on Tue, 01/01/2013 - 10:44
Average voter is unable to accurately assess politicians, new research shows
(Phys.org)—A new study has thrown doubt on the ability of the average voter to make an accurate judgement of the performance of their politicians, showing that voter biases appear to be deep-seated and broad.
Prior research has suggested that random events such as shark attacks or hurricanes decrease the votes received by incumbent politicians, regardless of their actual performance in office. Similarly, voters appear to give undue weight to recent economic performance and are easily swayed by rhetoric.
In a series of novel experiments, researchers Gregory A. Huber (Yale), Seth J. Hill (University of California, San Diego), and Gabriel S. Lenz (University of California, Berkeley) found that voters are susceptible to these biases even when given financial incentives to behave otherwise and when the information necessary to avoid these biases was readily available.
This in turn makes voters vulnerable to being manipulated by politicians.
The findings suggest that incumbents who associate themselves with good news for which they bear no responsibility, implement policies that generate good news close to elections at the expense of overall voter welfare, and use rhetoric that encourages people to focus on how they feel in the here and now, ignoring the long-term, could benefit at the ballot box.
Read more at Phys.org
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