Presidential race commodified: another product bought and sold

What are you basing your vote on this election? Whether you think health care is a right or responsibility, concern about a raise in taxes, your belief in diplomacy or American exceptionalism?

What appeals to you about the candidates, what makes you trust them?

yes_we_can_obama.jpgIf you do trust either of them, I’d like to point out that you’ve been sold. You’ve bought their product. Does that deep blue of the Obama campaign make you think things are going to be just fine? Sold. Do the appeals to “Joe the Plumber” and “Tito the Builder” make you feel like your needs are heard and understood? Sold.

How many undecided voters were swayed by packaging? Is that really what votes should be based on?

One political scientist has categorized voters into 4 categories: rationa, intuitive, confirmative, and fast + frugal.

Traditionally, political scientists have argued that the best way to make decisions is to obtain as much information as possible and assess it. Such a voter would be a rational, according to the model.

While Redlawsk said this has long been preferable, the professor’s research showed that another type, the intuitive voter, can make equally good decisions that is, choosing a candidate that fits the voter best. The intuitive voter tries to make the best possible decision with the least effort. The person might chose a random candidate to learn about, and if satisfied with that candidate, may not research any others.

These two groups boast the most voters, but UI sophomore Jordan Buettner falls into a third group. He is a fast and frugal voter. Buettner chose a few issues important to him and compared the candidates’ stances on these issues.

A final category of voter is the confirmative decision maker. Historically, this voter has been guided by party identification, Redlawsk said. Rather than gathering information to compare candidates, these voters gather information to comfirm a belief. (emphasis mine) [link]

My guess is that intuitive voters are most swayed by packaging, but maybe others are too. And maybemccain country first_1.jpg packaging matters a little for what it might say about the candidate, but I doubt it says too much.

Yes, we have a choice to make by Tuesday (for those who haven’t already). But in making that choice, I hope we’re basing our votes on what matters to us- which health care plan we prefer, which foreign policy methodology we support, and any other issues that are important to you. Obama will not bring Camelot to Washington and McCain will not be another George Bush in the White HOuse.

No matter who wins, whoever takes office will make errors in planning or execution, even by their own books. We, as civil society, should remain vigilant in keeping politicians accountable, no matter how much we want them to succeed.


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4 Responses to “Presidential race commodified: another product bought and sold”

  1. ItsMe says:

    Hard enough knowing whats what lets just go with the nice packaging and be done with it. Otherwise its just depressing.

  2. ItsMe says:

    Hard enough knowing whats what lets just go with the nice packaging and be done with it. Otherwise its just depressing.

  3. P.Singh says:

    Reema, I totally hear what you're saying – but I'm rooting for the black guy :)

  4. P.Singh says:

    Reema, I totally hear what you’re saying – but I’m rooting for the black guy :)