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Voter Psychology - Essay Example

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After reading the entire pages of Anthony Downs' book, it can be rightfully concluded that his textbook is not only intended for American voters and readers but for the whole humanity that exercises democracy. It is characterized not only by its universality but also by its timelessness …
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Voter Psychology
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Download file to see previous pages why voters cast their ballots for this candidate and that party. Downs implies that what is ideal is to vote on the basis of issues and ideologies but the reality is that many voters follow certain rules and others certain logical steps which they use as guidelines to vote. Downs intimates that most voters vote for selfish reasons, that at the heart of the voting process is their own interests, which is the maximization of their utility incomes (42). If their incomes are below the desired level, they are apt to support a change of the status quo and thus a vote against the incumbent. But if their incomes have skyrocketed because of the incumbent's policies that favor them, they will necessarily dread a change of policies or a fracture in the continuity of present policies and thus bat for retention of the incumbent in office.
fat chance of winning. Thus in order to ensure that his voting is not an exercise in futility, he becomes engaged in forecasting, predicting and estimating the outcome of the election contest. If such processes prove that his preferred bet is not "part of the relevant range of choice" (48), then he has no option but switch vote for another party that has a better chance of winning.
Related to the idea that a voter opts for that which carries or protects the voter's best interests is the idea of partisanship. Downs, however, refuses to mention this word. Instead, he designates partisans as loyalists (85), who have set their minds to vote for a particular candidate election after election. These voters are knowledgeable about the issues and are often zealous and participative in political discussions.
Downs also introduces the idea of trend factor which voters may use as guideline in their decision of whom to vote for in an election (41). Voters tend to reelect the incumbent who at the outset of his government incurred mistakes but then has improved steadily his governance and at the present has governed expertly to voters' satisfaction. Conversely, voters tend to boot out of office that incumbent who started office splendidly, but has since spiraled out to degeneracy.
Another Downs syndrome is the performance ratings concept (41). Sometimes voters are thrown out of equilibrium when candidates carry identical platforms and policies. To resolve the impasse, the basis of the decision is drastically changed to whether or not the incumbent has performed better in office than their predecessors. If not, then the verdict is to replace the incumbent.

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