How Are Voters’ Behaviours Altered in the Modern Society?

By Charlotte Lee

(中文翻譯於原文下方)

Contrary to authoritarian regimes, liberal democracies and the political parties within offer more flexibility and choices for voters. Yet, with many influential factors other than mere differentiating class, predicting voters’ behaviors is more challenging in a liberal democratic society.

Firstly, political parties in liberal democracies are rarely extreme and often choose relatively malleable stances to seize the office, though not necessarily all of them belong to the catch-all party category. Therefore, voters’ decisions are made according to leaders’ characteristics and policies instead of conventional fixed ideologies or social groupings, like the left and right opposition. In other words, people tend to follow the so-called “rational-choice model” and choose the option that fits their best interest rather than absolute partisan. Thus, some of the previous predicting methods, such as the party-identification and sociological models, lost their accuracy.

Secondly, the widespread use of the media has profoundly shaped voters’ perspectives today. As the primary tool of conveying information, the Internet is often biased and misleading. It can even set the agenda online of what people are exposed to easily through media framing. While at the same time, it is hardly possible to trace who got in touch and internalized these opinions from the media. Unlike social class or party membership, people’s status remains anonymous online, further increasing the difficulty of predicting their future voting behaviors with valid data. This situation suggests that the effects of the media can sway voters’ decisions, making the electorate body more unpredictable.

Finally, as policies proposed by the political parties would affect not only a single group of people, the electorate body of different elections can switch dramatically. Factors including gender, ethnicity, and age have been proved statistically to have cleavages within each voting result. This situation indicates that it requires more than one factor to predict a specific individual’s future voting behaviors, which will considerably complicate the prediction.

Human behaviors might be quickly altered due to their self-interest and political operations as the rational-choice model, and the dominant-ideology model would describe. Yet, the emergence of countless factors behind each individual’s decision-making presents more complexity to precisely predict the future.

選民的行為在現代社會中如何改變?

相較於專制政權,自由民主政治及其制度下的政黨提供選民更多的彈性及選擇。不過,除階級差異外,尚有許多影響因子,使得在自由民主社會下要預測選民行為顯得更加具有挑戰性。

首先,雖然未必是普涵性政黨,自由民主政治中的政黨較少走向極端,且常採取相對具可塑性的立場以爭取執政,因此,選民做出決定是依據領導者的魅力及政策,而不是傳統上固定的意識形態或社會群體,如左右派。換句話說,人們傾向遵循所謂「理性選擇理論」,選擇最符合其利益的選項,而非完全依照黨派。一些先前的預測方法,如政黨認同及社會學模型,因此失去其正確性。

其次,媒體的普及深刻重塑了當今選民的觀點。作為傳遞訊息的主要工具,網路卻常帶有偏見且具誤導性,甚至能透過媒體框架輕易地設定人們在網路上接觸到的議題。同時,要追蹤誰從媒體上接觸並接納了這些看法卻幾乎不可能。不像社會階級或者黨籍,人們的地位在網路上是不公開的,進一步增加了透過有效資料預測其未來投票行為的難度。顯示媒體的影響能動搖選民的抉擇,使得選民更為難以預測。

最後,由於政黨提出的政策不僅僅影響單一群體,不同選舉中的選民可能有劇烈的變化。性別、種族、年齡等因子已在統計上被證明能導致選舉結果的分歧,此一情況指出,預測特定個體的未來投票行為需要不只一個變因,而這也相當程度使得預測更為複雜。

如同理性選擇理論及主流意識型態模型所描述的,人類行為能夠因個人利益或政治運作迅速變化。然而,每個人做決定背後的無數因素,在對未來的精準預測中添加了更多的不確定性。

This article is written by Charlotte Lee & translated by Kowei Tai. See original post here.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Mockingjay.

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