Systematic and Effective Voting Heuristics

Delia Baldassarri

in The Simple Art of Voting

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199828241
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979783 | DOI:
Systematic and Effective Voting Heuristics

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Chapter 6 examines the effectiveness of the cognitive shortcuts and the consistency of their use, and shows that the judgment strategies used by utilius, amicus, and aliens are deployed not just in determining their voting behavior but also in other decision-making tasks they undertake. In particular, we show that utilius voters rely on the left-right ideological dimension even when they judge policy issues, or their future voting preferences, and that amicus voters use their simplified vision of politics in which the political competition is limited to the two major coalitions both in their judgment of political leaders and the performance of the government. The effectiveness of these heuristics is proved by the fact that utilius and amicus voters show levels of coherence in the organization of their opinions that are higher than those of the most interested and educated individuals. On the contrary, the aliens type, who does not follow the decision-making mechanisms employed by utilius and amicus, is much less capable of using the left-right dimension to manage the organization of the parties and his issue opinions even compared to the least educated and interested voters. However, even the aliens voter is not without an organizing principle. Indeed, he is guided by a cynic realism, or pessimism, that leads to systematically negative evaluations of every party, coalition, and political leader.

Keywords: political sophistication; left-right ideology; political issues; political disaffection

Chapter.  8292 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Movements and Social Change

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