By Charlotte Lee
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.
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.