Political Ignorance and Split Voting result in People Voting Against Their Own Best Interest!

[Source: New York Times]



Split-ticket voting is quite rare for top offices like president and senator. But those who do choose candidates from different parties on Election Day have at least one thing in common: They know less about politics than people who vote the straight party line.


Where you live and who is running for office certainly shape the odds that you will split your ballot, but by far the best predictor is how much general political knowledge you have.


It is easy to come up with examples of cross-party statewide outcomes: New Jersey (which voted for President Obama twice) and its two-term Republican governor, Chris Christie; or California and Arnold Schwarzenegger. There are plenty of reasons for split-party statewide outcomes, including popular incumbents and changes in who turns out to vote for different offices in different years.


But don’t be fooled. State-level splits do not imply a prevalence of cross-party voting at the individual level. Consider this simple example. If 100 voters cast ballots in the presidential election and vote for the Democrat 52 to 48, the Democrat wins with a four-vote margin. If those same 100 voters cast votes in a Senate election and break for the Republican 51 to 49, the Republican wins with a two-vote margin. When elections are close, a few voters splitting their tickets can flip outcomes between the parties if the electorate is made up of the same people. (When different people show up across years, outcomes can swing between the parties without anyone’s splitting a ticket).


In 2012, nationwide, only 7 percent of voters who cast ballots; Open New York Times Link for the full story! 


Twitter @sheriff Ali




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