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What is this issue all about?


I ALWAYS VOTE… For Republicans, for Democrats, like my spouse, like my parents, like my church/pastor, like my neighbors, like my community, for whoever believes in my one important issue…

This issue has to do with people’s tendency to vote as they have always done without looking closely at their reasons for selecting candidates. Some people feel overwhelmed by the number of issues, and how they compete within their belief system, making it very difficult to make independent choices. Some people lack the time and/or resources to research details about candidates and issues. Some people feel so strongly about one specific issue, that they vote for the candidate that supports that issue even though the candidate is opposed to many other issues the voter believes in. Becoming aware of some of the reasons we vote can open the door to consideration of changing facts, ideas, and times. This increases the chances that we each vote for what we really believe in.

Talking Points:


Social Identity can Drive Us: What is social identity theory?

Social identity is a person’s sense of who they are based on their group membership, such as social class, family, football team members. It states that the group to which you see yourself belonging is an important source of pride and self-esteem. Groups give us a sense of social identity: a sense of belonging to the social world. Henri Tajfel’s greatest contribution to psychology was the social identity theory (1979).

Henri Tajfel proposed that stereotyping such as putting people into groups and categories is based on a common thinking process: the tendency to group things together. In doing so we tend to exaggerate:
            1. the differences between groups    2. the similarities of things in the same group.

This is known as in-group (us) and out-group (them). The central hypothesis of social identity theory is that group members of an in-group will seek to find negative aspects of an out-group, thus enhancing their self-image.

Social identity and voting behavior. Acting as part of a particular group as suggested by social identity theory, may fundamentally change the outcome of an election as people will vote within their group norms, sometimes without consideration of specific issues.

Social Identity Theory and Party Identification: Social identity is a fundamental aspect of partisanship, which, when measured, can lead to the acceptance of party beliefs without true consideration of those beliefs. It may cause a voter to accept some beliefs that are important to them and to ignore those that they are opposed to.

Identity beats policy when it comes to voter choices. New research says that two motivations — your policy positions and your social identity — are competing to shape which candidate you will choose or whether you will vote at all.

Choice Based on a Single Issue: Some voters make a selection based on a candidate’s position on a single issue.  The question becomes whether that issue supersedes the candidate’s position on all other issues. Would you compromise your beliefs on other issues for the sake of one issue?  It would be like going to a restaurant for your favorite type of French fries when you really don’t like anything else about the restaurant: menu, service, prices, location, atmosphere, cleanliness…  are the French fries worth is?

Facts and Resources:


Social identity and voting behavior:


Social Identity Theory and Party Identification:


Identity beats policy when it comes to voter choices. New theory says social identity is a key driver of voter choice: