Deciding How to Vote Is Now Essentially a Rational Exercise

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Submitted By Maximilian
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Deciding how to vote is now essentially a rational exercise
In the early 20th century, most of the electorate would vote for a party that they have been brought up with or are a party that they identify strongly with. However, since the turn of the 20th century, this is much less likely to be the case as evidence shows that there is a great decrease in the percentage of people who vote by party identification. It has fallen from 45% in 1964 to 10% in 2010, it is apparent that voting may be becoming an issue of deliberated choice, a rational exercise rather than something decided by your upbringing or you socio-economic group.

To name one reason, it is clear that voting is a rational exercise when we take into account party leadership, and how that has affected past general elections. Past general elections have shown us that the image of the party leader is in-fact of most importance, with elections having significant swings based on the image of the party leader. An example of such an occasion was the 1979 general election. Labour leader Michael Foot was a kind-hearted man, an ex-pilot and had credible policies, yet he cared not for his appearance and was often quite scruffy and poorly dressed. Mrs Thatcher on the other hand was well-spoken, well-dressed and an looked the part of a prime-minister - and it was her that won the election. It is also often the case that opinion polls also show this is the case, and that an appealing party leader will often result in a win at the general election. This fact that a party’s leader’s appearance affects the outcome of a general election is significant evidence in favour of the view that voting now is a rational exercise.

Yet further evidence that voting is now an essentially rational exercise is voting behaviour regarding the economy, especially in times of economic crisis. Sanders’ theory is that the economy is one…...

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