Recent panel looks at the psychology of voting

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What goes on in the minds of voters? A recent panel looked at the psychology voting. As it turns out, the way we vote may have more to do with our identity not our ideals. Things like family and how the world will perceive us drives us to join one party over another and vote with that party even if its ideology is not in line with us.

Dr. Matthew Dempsey, School of Politics and Global Studies at ASU, previously worked in electoral politics for both state and congressional candidates. He spoke more with us about the psychology of voting.

“Partisanship is the number one determinant of how someone’s gonna vote in this country. Democrats are gonna vote for the Democrats 90% of the time. Republicans are gonna vote for Republicans 90% of the time. And then the Independents are sort of in the middle,” Dempsey said.

The results of this election are really going to be dependent on turnout, according to Dempsey.

Is Partisanship in our DNA?

“There actually is a genetic component to partisanship. It’s really fascinating,” Dempsey said. “But generally speaking, we tend to be the party of our parents. And statistically speaking, the bulk of the people are going to be that. Some people do change, but statistically, that is relatively rare.”

It also depends on the people and groups someone associates with, Dempsey said. If everyone hanging around a person is Republican, then that person is more likely to be a Republican, and vice versa.

“Basically, political psychology research shows that if you vote for the same party three elections in a row, you’re going to be that party for life,” Dempsey said.

Parents are the first socializers of a person. But it is possible to change after someone grows into their own skin, Dempsey said.

Dr. Matthew Dempsey, School of Politics and Global Studies at ASU

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