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"Choice Blindness" Can Transform Conservatives Into Liberals - and Vice Versa

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the yes-we-are-all-individuals dept.

Politics 542

ananyo writes "When U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney said last year that he was not even going to try to reach 47% of the US electorate, and that he would focus on the 5–10% thought to be floating voters, he was articulating a commonly held opinion: that most voters are locked in to their ideological party loyalty. But Lars Hall, a cognitive scientist at Lund University in Sweden, knew better. When Hall and his colleagues tested the rigidity of people's political attitudes and voting intentions during Sweden's 2010 general election, they discovered that loyalty was malleable: nearly half of all voters were open to changing their minds. Hall's group polled 162 voters during the final weeks of the election campaign, asking them which of two opposing political coalitions — conservative or social democrat/green — they intended to vote for. The researchers also asked voters to rate where they stood on 12 key political issues, including tax rates and nuclear power. The person conducting the experiment secretly filled in an identical survey with the reverse of the voter's answers, and used sleight-of-hand to exchange the answer sheets, placing the voter in the opposite political camp. The researcher invited the voter to give reasons for their manipulated opinions, then summarized their score to give a probable political affiliation and asked again who they intended to vote for. On the basis of the manipulated score, 10% of the subjects switched their voting intentions, from right to left wing or vice versa. Another 19% changed from firm support of their preferred coalition to undecided. A further 18% had been undecided before the survey, indicating that as many as 47% of the electorate were open to changing their minds, in sharp contrast to the 10% of voters identified as undecided in Swedish polls at the time (research paper). Hall has used a similar sleight of hand before to show that our moral compass can often be easily reversed."

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Yeah Right (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429205)

Sure - as long as you don't care about wealth inquality, womens' rights, gay rights, gun control and the privatization of everything from social security to our roads to our parks and police protection... you can change your mind.

Vote for Jesus so that he can come down and stop the bullets.

Re:Yeah Right (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about a year ago | (#43429271)

You're kind of a moron, aren't you? Assuming that your opinion is the "right" one on all of the topics you list. A big part of the problem is that we limit ourselves to two opinions... liberal and conservative... and then stick to that opinion on all issues.

Personally, I'm liberal on a small portion of topics (mostly social), but fairly conservative on a wide range of other topics. Therefore if I have to label myself, I'd call myself conservative. However, if I were to list where I stand on the current "hot topics", most people would peg me as liberal.

Hey, you can have different opinions on different topics. Who knew?

Re:Yeah Right (4, Insightful)

aztracker1 (702135) | about a year ago | (#43429383)

I took a political quiz recently for fun, which pegged me as Democrat (I guess D & R were the only two outcomes)... which is funny, because I'm pretty solid in Libertarian ideals. Which also tends to be socially liberal, and conservative on other issues.

Re:Yeah Right (2, Insightful)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about a year ago | (#43429443)

I end up pretty similar. I have both liberal and conservative ideas. I also have some ideas that people will say are liberal or conservative that I have for completely different reasons. Some ideas I see as neither liberal or conservative, they just make sense when considering costs.

For instance if doing X costs Y dollars but preventing the problem costs Z and ZY then I propose we do prevention. It is not liberal or conservative.

What I find it comes down to though is that I care more about social issues that economic ones. So I end up voting for the liberal side even though I agree with the conservatives on many points. My views on abortion is that I don't have the right to make that choice for someone else , they should have that choice. My views on gay marriage are the same. It is not something I am going to do it, it won't harm me in any way but I have seen friends die in the hospital and I have talked to people that could not be with their loved ones because of laws that only allow family and I consider that wrong as hell if not outright evil.

If the republicans took a more liberal social policy and an actual conservative fiscal policy I would find it much easier to support them. I don't really like the democrats fiscal policies very much but I still support them because I believe people should have the right to marry who they want and have an abortion if they want.

Re:Yeah Right (4, Funny)

TrollstonButtersbean (2890693) | about a year ago | (#43429653)

Having more than 2 options is very confusing to the Facebook / American Idol / iPhone crowd. You are being rude and inconsiderate by merely suggesting there might be more than 2 points of view --- are you trying to hurt these peoples mental capabilities or what?

Re:Yeah Right (2)

sycodon (149926) | about a year ago | (#43429719)

It's no different than Fan Boys of Microsoft or Apple.

Re:Yeah Right (4, Informative)

Dragonslicer (991472) | about a year ago | (#43429749)

Take a look at Political Compass [politicalcompass.org] . It at least splits economic and social issues, and does a decent job of explaining the different combinations. It also nicely shows how the Democrats and Republicans aren't as different overall as they would have you believe.

Re:Yeah Right (1, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year ago | (#43429305)

I agree. that's why we need more libertarians in office.

1. corporates won't get special privileges and can't use the government to control markets. They'll actually have to invest their own money in themselvse to improve their positions instead of the taxpayers' money to buy politicians and law.

2. women would have a chance to earn the respect based on their success at relevant life challenges, same as men. The left wing built system bias towards women/against men hurts both genders. It keeps women dependent on the state while inequitably stealing opportunity from men. it also breeds stereotype-based hatred in both genders. Cultural marxism helps no one but the state.

3. #2 also applies to gays. They should have a right to live how they wish like everyone else. They don't deserve the special privileges or attention they get from the left.

4. The argument for gun control is childish at best: "daddy maybe if we make the guns go away no one will kill one another anymore". If the left would address the issues in its own public education system, we'd have fewer klebolds and lanzas out there. If we have people targeting school decades after graduation, there's definitely something rotten in denmark. Of course, it's easier for the left to accuse the other side than it is to face its own demons. People (and hence organizations) that can do this have hit a milestone to adulthood. The rest are still children. Children are easier to control and manipulate.

5. there are libertarians and anarchocapitalists who want to privatize everything, but most don't. There are also liberals who worship karl marx and are members of the USA communist party. Most do not and are not. Your point here is a fallacy.

Re:Yeah Right (4, Insightful)

Shavano (2541114) | about a year ago | (#43429409)

3. #2 also applies to gays. They should have a right to live how they wish like everyone else. They don't deserve the special privileges or attention they get from the left.

What special privileges do you suppose liberals are trying to get for gays. The right to marry the person of their choice just like a heterosexual can?. The right to not be bullied for being different than the majority of other people? The right to adopt children? The right to not be demonized? The right to dress and act how they want as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else? You mean those special privileges?

4. The argument for gun control is childish at best: "daddy maybe if we make the guns go away no one will kill one another anymore". If the left would address the issues in its own public education system, we'd have fewer klebolds and lanzas out there.

Got any evidence for that. Any at all?

Re:Yeah Right (-1, Offtopic)

_Ludwig (86077) | about a year ago | (#43429591)

What asshole modded this “Troll,” and whatever happened to metamoderation anyway?

Re:Yeah Right (1, Interesting)

geminidomino (614729) | about a year ago | (#43429681)

What special privileges do you suppose liberals are trying to get for gays.

"Hate Crime" legislation comes to mind. Typical "liberal" bullshit. They completely choke on solutions to the actual problems (I will ever maintain that there's no legitimate objection to gay marriage), but give them half a chance and they'll make another group of delicate snowflakes who need to be "protected".

"All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others," indeed.

Re:Yeah Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429747)

Yes, hate crime legislation, that's a benefit, all you have to be is the victim of a crime, based on malice and bigotry, and you get the privilege of the perpetrator maybe being punished more.

Wow, I sure want that for myself.

Re:Yeah Right (0)

AvitarX (172628) | about a year ago | (#43429411)

To point 3, do liberals really want any more than equal rights and prohibited discrimination for the queer community? I ask, because I've seen no.attempts to create quotas etc for them.

to point 4, I am.not pro gun control, and there are already too many guns out there in private hands for anybodies opinion on the issue to.make a difference, but when the mad men started stabbing students recently (in country with a history of controlling the populace) nobody was killed, even though 17 were stabbed, also, non gun weapons have a lot less bystander damage (which is why I would support less guns for authority). I personally think the constitution trumps desire, ans nobody should be discussing gun control outside of an amendment, but valid points are to.be made, even if people will.continue to murder.

random periods are spaces, and words are autocunty messing with me, typed on a phone drunk...

Re:Yeah Right (1)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about a year ago | (#43429459)

The only problem I have with gun control is I don't think it will work anymore. In the past I think that magazine limits, more background checks etc would work. Now with 3D printers becoming cheap and available and the technology improving rapidly I don't think there is anything that can realistically be done to control how many people have guns and what kinds of guns they have or how large the magazines are. I don't see the point in passing ineffectual laws.

Overall we do have to come up with a system to decrease gun violence but controlling guns is probably not the way to do it.

Re:Yeah Right (2, Interesting)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#43429593)

Australia came up with a much more strict gun control laws after a massacre at a place called Newtown.
The result is that they have a much lower rate of gun violence compared to before the gun control laws.
Gun control works.

Re:Yeah Right (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429669)

Give up your freedom and die like the slave you are.

Re:Yeah Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429723)

That is a weird fetish regarding a particular type of violence. The effectiveness should not be measured by reduction of gun violence, but by the reduction of violent crimes, homicide, etc. If gun homicides simply transitioned to other means of homicide then the law is not effective. General trends should be accounted for as well. Gun crime is lower in the US now than it was before the assault weapons ban expired in 2004, but to claim that reduction was caused by the proliferation of modern sporting rifles ignores the decades long trend in crime reduction.

Re:Yeah Right (1, Interesting)

Ambassador Kosh (18352) | about a year ago | (#43429759)

I think that it did work in the past and will continue to work very short term into the future. I just think it will be ineffective in 5-10 years and so a different solution must be found. If we try to solve the problem entirely with gun control then all the causes of violence will remain but the availability of guns via 3D printing will increase.

Re:Yeah Right (1, Redundant)

epyT-R (613989) | about a year ago | (#43429699)

Remember there are several definitions of fairness: equality and equity. I'm a fan of equity..ie earned reward.

Typical liberal doctrine says they want equal rights.Yet their methods (laws passed, policies enacted) build systemic bias in society that benefits one group over another under the assumption (or made up malarkey) that there's an existing, systemic, opposing bias (some would call this a conspiracy theory). To my knowledge, there are no federal laws creating quotas for gays yet.. If they retain power long enough, you can bet there will be eventually. I don't just want rights for gays. I want rights for every citizen.

---

For the immediate future, you're right. However, history has shown that governments tend to draw more and more power to themselves no matter how they're designed to resist that natural tendency. So, when deciding policy, I'd rather encourage a culture that knows how to handle firearms and stand up for its rights, than a soccer mom culture that fears its own shadow. The latter is easily manipulated into losing other rights, not just because it's not armed, but because it has learned helplessness syndrome. From a psychological perspective, taking gun rights away just helps grow that soccer mom impotence.
I realize that today's culture is not the midwest of the 1880s, but I dont want it becoming the 'soft' (or even eastern bloc) socialism of 1980s+ Europe either. There are elements from the former that we need to relearn in order to keep us away from the latter.

Re:Yeah Right (0)

Ksevio (865461) | about a year ago | (#43429421)

So basically the libertarian world: 1. Lax regulations giving corporations free rein to abuse consumers 2. Women get oppressed as they have for millennium 3. same 4. This message brought to you by the NRA? Isn't free education for everyone against the libertarian way?

Re:Yeah Right (4, Insightful)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#43429453)

In my opinion a lot of people confuse libertarians with anarchists. For example, they assume libertarians are against any and all regulation. We're just against unreasonable regulation. For example, vocal libertarians such as John Stossel support the EPA regulating soot emissions from cars so that we can have clean air. But we hate regulations that for example make certain medications and surgeries needlessly expensive, or surgeries commonly performed overseas with great results that are banned here.

We're also very vocal against handing tax money to private corporations. For example, PBS is insanely profitable (its executives make over 300,000 per year) yet how dare anybody suggest we stop handing them free money, because clearly that means they hate children.

Re:Yeah Right (5, Insightful)

devent (1627873) | about a year ago | (#43429641)

So you are for regulations where they are successful and making a net positive impact and against regulations where they are useless or hurting without net positive impact? Is that you call "libertarians"? I call it "common sense".

Re:Yeah Right (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year ago | (#43429705)

"Libertarian" covers a whole gamut of political opinions, ranging from anarcho-capitalists (think Ayn Rand) to anarcho-communism (abolishing of private property), weaving between straight up-anarchists (no rules) and closer-to-mainstream minarchists (less rules). It's largely a meaningless term, unless further qualified.

Minarchists (what the GP is most probably referring to) generally enumerate the functions government should provide, and limit regulations to those functions. Which particular functions they believe government should provide varies from viewpoint to viewpoint, but often includes things like military, border security, justice and police, contract enforcement, responsibility for the commons, and regulation of natural monopolies (roughly in order from most accepted to least).

Re:Yeah Right (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#43429693)

We're just against unreasonable regulation.

In my experience, opinions vary *wildly* amongst self-defined libertarians as to the definition of "unreasonable".

For example, PBS is insanely profitable (its executives make over 300,000 per year) yet how dare anybody suggest we stop handing them free money, because clearly that means they hate children.

The Federally chartered Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created by Congress specifically to keep PBS alive in the late 60s.
I don't think you hate kids, I just think your ideology is based on a poor grasp of public policy.

Re:Yeah Right (1)

Atzanteol (99067) | about a year ago | (#43429467)

3. #2 also applies to gays. They should have a right to live how they wish like everyone else. They don't deserve the special privileges or attention they get from the left.

The hell?

Re:Yeah Right (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43429521)

I agree. that's why we need more :snip:

I think you didn't read the article. What this guy is saying is, you can get more of anybody in office by simply lying about their answers after having them take a survey. If you hire a whole bunch of people to do this before an election, maybe you can swing it your way. It's certainly no less ethical than how candidates buy,er, I mean, win elections today.

The rest of your comment was such an attention-whoring grab to support your own idiosyncratic beliefs and annoyingly full of logic fail that you should probably stay away from hospitals, nuclear reactors, or anything else that has digital components, at least for a few days until the fail has time to boil off.

Re:Yeah Right (1)

jxander (2605655) | about a year ago | (#43429571)

Libertarians are nice, but what we really need is more sane people.

TFS says that as many as 47% of voters were open to changing their minds, but what percentage of those for whom we vote fall into that category? Other than drastically changing positions for the purpose of pandering to different crowds, how many politicians can hear a reasonable argument for/against a certain topic and actually be swayed?

On the other hand, how many politicians are pure party line? Repub? Must be super rich, at least slightly racist and misogynist, oppose gay rights, strongly support the 2nd amendment, love wars, hate abortion or a woman's right to chose, etc etc. Liberal? The exact opposite of all of that... with no room for middle ground. When the people we vote into office (and the talking heads on Fox, MSNBC, etc) join the 47% willing to change their minds, then we might actually be getting somewhere.

Re:Yeah Right (5, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | about a year ago | (#43429603)

You know, if all it took to be equal was a declaration stating "You are now equal", African-Americans would have been free in 1865. But the real world is considerably more complex, and good intentions not backed by powerful resolve and yes, sometimes force of law and even of arms, often end up becoming empty sentiments. The US government's unwillingness to protect African-Americans from institutionalized racism in the northern states and from the more overt political, judicial and legislative racism in the southern states meant all the high rhetoric of the Abolitionists, The Emancipation Proclamation, and, no kidding, even a goddamned amendment to the Constitution did little bloody good until the Executive finally started doing things like putting soldiers between vile racists and black teenagers just trying to enjoy their lawful and natural rights, supposedly guaranteed nearly a century before.

Keep a bird in a cage most of its life, then declare if free and chuck if out the window. See how that works.

Sweden is not the US (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429245)

The mentality between countries are enormous. For example Canada seems like the US but it isn't. Canada thinks the US are evil and sue-happy. They are very liberal because they don't want to become what the US is. I'm not joking, this is pretty much the general consensus on why people vote liberal in Canada from the people I've talked to. Being raised there, I know this mentality well too. But in the US, there's a huge barrier between left and right. The left want their set of ideologies to be met, and the right want their own. The differences are too vast, but the ones that aren't democrat or republican will stick around even as for an independent party. But let's face it, at the end of the day an individual vote does not matter. The united states is a republic, not a democracy.

Re:Sweden is not the US (4, Insightful)

niftydude (1745144) | about a year ago | (#43429461)

The mentality between countries are enormous.

This. Sweden has one of the most educated populations in the world - Tertiary education costs something like 200 euros a year, and so university degrees are not just for the wealthy.

In New York, people will peg you as being a democrat or a republican based on what paper you happen to be reading on the subway. Some of them will get angry about it. Swedish society is far more civil.

Re:Sweden is not the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429555)

"Look, that SOB knows how to read. He must be a republican! Get 'im!"

Re:Sweden is not the US (4, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year ago | (#43429727)

"Sweden has one of the most educated populations in the world"

Yet they can't see that answered they just gave to a test have been changed and they defend the new answers? Perhaps they should go back for quality education rather than just most.

Re:Sweden is not the US (1)

sycodon (149926) | about a year ago | (#43429741)

If we had a Swedish Bikini Team, we'd be more civil also.

Re:Sweden is not the US (2)

TheLink (130905) | about a year ago | (#43429541)

Yeah in the US politics is like pro-wrestling. Just a lot less ethical but with more nukes involved.

You'll have supporters and commentators on both sides yelling how great their "wrestler" is and how the other one is bad and doing bad stuff, and then when their wrestler does the same stuff they say it's OK.

For many the party affiliation is like a religion. Which is why I find it funny that so many Atheists think that getting rid of religion will solve problems. Many people have a need to be rabid fundamentalist Republicans/Democrats/Baptists/Muslims/Vegans/PETA jihadists or even Atheists. Makes them feel better or something. Part of some great tribe perhaps.

Maybe the Swedish people think they're part of the great Swedish or Nordic or Viking tribe and so this party affiliation stuff isn't such a big deal to them ;).

Re:Sweden is not the US (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year ago | (#43429755)

Ok but that's not correct in terms of US politics. The point is Mitt didn't think he needed to build any bridges to the left to win, that the swing voters would be enough. He was wrong, he lost. This may be the anomaly: that someone would blatantly be on a platform of "screw half of you". He really thought he'd win, and he was close enough to be scary.

The US is known for very individualistic thinking, that's what differentiates us from many countries. The upside to individualism is that generally personal freedom is valued higher than social good. The downside is that personal gain is also valued above social good, and we elect people who are openly self-centered.

I think in this sense Sweden is fairly opposite the US in culture. From what I know of the place, their politics run far more to social benefit above individual need.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429249)

> When U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney said last year that he was not even going to try to reach 47% of the US electorate, and that he would focus on the 5–10% thought to be floating voters, he was articulating a commonly held opinion: that most voters are locked in to their ideological party loyalty.

What a load of shit. He was "articulating" no such thing. He was telling rich people that he would not let the plight of the poor affect his decisions in the slightest bit.

Re:Bullshit (1)

sycodon (149926) | about a year ago | (#43429745)

Speaking of Fan Boys and Homers...

Submission to Authority (4, Insightful)

mutantSushi (950662) | about a year ago | (#43429263)

So it seems the study basically is demonstrating that some people are more amenable to a symbol of authority telling them what they actually think/believe. Although the extent to which it is important that the authority is perceived to be 'neutral' isn't clear from the study.

our moral compass can often be easily reversed (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43429267)

Like the magnetic poles themselves. Nothing is absolute, except change...

Re:our moral compass can often be easily reversed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429349)

If by "change" you mean the perceived effects of time, than think again - Einstein has proven you wrong long ago. Only the speed of light in vacuum is absolute and nothing else, not even time. Period (but not absolute period).

Re:our moral compass can often be easily reversed (1)

Vermonter (2683811) | about a year ago | (#43429355)

"Nothing is absolute" is an absolute statement.

Re:our moral compass can often be easily reversed (3, Funny)

jc42 (318812) | about a year ago | (#43429377)

Myself, I've always sorta like "All generalities are false."

Re:our moral compass can often be easily reversed (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43429471)

"Nothing is absolute"

Then everything is. We are standing still. Number nine, number nine, number nine...

Re:our moral compass can often be easily reversed (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year ago | (#43429739)

Only the Sith deal in absolutes.

I read "Color Blindness" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429289)

And I immediately thought yeah, that pretty much describes how racist the conservative faction is. Then I realized it said "Choice Blindness", and was about Sweden and not the US, and went "meh" and moved on.

Sample of 162 in 9.5 Million (0)

MatthiasF (1853064) | about a year ago | (#43429291)

This study is pretty obviously not statistically relevant and most likely a bias piece geared at proving a belief and not a hypothesis. And yes, there is a big different between the two.

Re:Sample of 162 in 9.5 Million (1)

Tooke (1961582) | about a year ago | (#43429365)

It actually doesn't matter that the sample is such a small percentage of the population. It's size that matters, not percent.* A sample of 162 will be just as statistically relevant whether the population size is 9.5 million or only 10,000 (assuming the sample is taken properly). There may be other issues with the study, but this isn't one of them.

(At least that's what I learned last quarter in intro statistics. Feel free to correct me if I missed anything)

*Though if the sample is drawn without replacement (i.e. putting each subject back in the pool before choosing the next), the sample should be under 10% of the population.

Re:Sample of 162 in 9.5 Million (1)

elfprince13 (1521333) | about a year ago | (#43429505)

It actually doesn't matter that the sample is such a small percentage of the population. It's size that matters, not percent

This is only true given a certain set of underlying assumptions about the backing distribution, which are often poorly controlled for in experiments like this.

Re:Sample of 162 in 9.5 Million (5, Informative)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#43429389)

The statistical power of a sample has pretty much zilch dependence on the population size being sampled (until you reach a near-unity portion of the population being sampled); 162 of 9.5 Million provides no less hypothesis-testing power than 162 of 1000 (assuming sampling is properly uniform; a caveat here is that the researcher has a sample of 162 voluntary-survey-responders). While it might have been nice to include statistical error bars on the percentages in the summary, the "in 9.5 Million" is irrelevant to the robustness of conclusions drawn from a sample of 162.

Most retarded thing I've heard today (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429469)

I have a pool with 162 balls in it. I pull out 162 and find out what the most common colour is.

Are you telling me that that's statistically and probabilistically equivalent to pulling 162 balls out of a pool of 9.5 million and guessing what the most common colour is based on that sample?

Please go back to first year uni ('college') maths.

Re:Most retarded thing I've heard today (1)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#43429509)

You didn't read my post very closely, did you? Like the part where I said "until you reach a near-unity portion of the population being sampled," which is exactly the special case you're complaining about? Please go back to your second-grade reading comprehension class (and it was the poster above, not me, who was in the intro maths course).

Re:Most retarded thing I've heard today (1)

Smonson78 (2728057) | about a year ago | (#43429589)

Clearly it isn't the same, because if you had "sampled" the entire comment before you responded, you would have read the part about reaching a near-unity portion, you would have got a different result!

Re:Most retarded thing I've heard today (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year ago | (#43429717)

Did you miss the part where he said "until you reach a near-unity proportion"? Unity is what your 162/162 example is. Seems like you need to take some statistics courses.

Re:Sample of 162 in 9.5 Million (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43429481)

This study is pretty obviously not statistically relevant

That's a really great statement there, and I'mma let you finish, but statistical relevance has no relevance here. It's a intellectual-sounding mean-nothing. What you meant was probably statistical significance. And the test of significance is met if the result is unlikely to have happened by chance alone.

You're going to have a hard time justifying a position that this guy's results were just a statistical fluke. You may disagree with the results. You may disagree with the method. You may even disagree with the hypothesis. But you can't say it is a "belief". The only belief here is your own: Specifically, that you believe people's political orientations can't be easily changed because you believe your political orientation is less malleable than what the author has demonstrated.

Re:Sample of 162 in 9.5 Million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429495)

This has nothing to do with people political leanings and adaptability. This has to do with pride/shame and lack of wishing to get into conflict over something as insignificant as a poll.

More like rationalizatoin (4, Insightful)

howardd21 (1001567) | about a year ago | (#43429293)

Because of the slight of hand and then confrontation, I would think it is more like people just rationalize the circumstances and then seek to defend the supposed position they took (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationalization_(making_excuses)) I also wonder if the researcher had any white lab coat, etc. that made them seem more authoritative?

What I do not see is an actual change of opinion.

Re:More like rationalizatoin (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429399)

That is my problem too, why would you defend views, less then 5 minutes ago you said weren't on a survey... do you have short term memory loss did you not want to accuse them of a mistake? What?

My observation (5, Interesting)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about a year ago | (#43429301)

One thing I've noticed (read: pure anecdote) is that most people who are enthusiastic about their party don't behave much differently from sports fans of opposing teams. It doesn't really matter what their side does, what matters is which letter wins the game. Even on Slashdot I've confronted a few people who say "well my side never does x abhorrent behavior" when all of ten seconds worth of Google found the opposite.

Personally I simply avoid registering to vote because all that happens is I get calls from people telling me to vote for their guy and they can't really explain why. For example I got a call from somebody on Matt Salmon's team telling me that they would repeal Obama Care, and lower medical costs through deregulation. Being a libertarian, that is music to my ears because I know from experience that red tape does raise costs in the medical field significantly. However when I asked what he would deregulate and how that would help, he didn't even know. But he expects me to vote for his guy anyways.

No thanks. I'd only register to vote if there was actually a significant movement to balance the budget and prevent what I see as an otherwise inevitable catastrophic economic collapse. I don't think that will ever happen though. Once you add social entitlements, no matter how unsustainable or unaffordable, they're basically impossible to get rid of. The best you can do is hedge your assets (gold is a horrible idea BTW) and grab your ankles.

Re:My observation (5, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#43429533)

most people who are enthusiastic about their party don't behave much differently from sports fans of opposing teams.

An important point. Politics is almost entirely tribal. We can see people voting against their best interests distributed evenly across the political spectrum (including so-called libertarian). And not just voting against their best interests, but even voting against their own firmly held beliefs.

The thing that concerns me almost as much is how much of politics is about being a jerk. Holding a position because it will piss off somebody from the other tribe. Notice how being [conservative, liberal] means that you have to adopt an entire menu of positions, not because you have formed opinions on all of those issues, but because that's what people of the tribe believe.

I'm pretty sure I don't have to point out any examples of this to most of you. It's so obvious as to be startling. That's why it makes news when someone from one political tribe suddenly adopts a position of the other tribe (for example, Rob Portman supports gay marriage). It's news because that's not a position a conservative is supposed to have and he is criticized. The notion that there are clearly delineated "conservative" or "liberal" positions that have to always go together and that people always have to run with the tribe is a hallmark of American politics at least.

It's also a hallmark of a population that's being manipulated. So why the tribes squabble over these territorial trivialities, the people who actually have power are cleaning out the vaults. Does anyone actually believe that we are an exactly 50/50 split country? And yet, that's how it's been working out for decades now. It just smells wrong.

Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you are on, when something bothers you, always ask yourself "Who's really benefiting? You may be surprised at how often the answer is the same people, and they don't belong to either tribe.

Re:My observation (3, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year ago | (#43429683)

I look at it more of a game of tug-of-war with a multi-pointed star of rope. Society is the knot floating in the middle of the star and the extremists trying to pull it in their direction. I jump on the Libertarian side and pull hard, not because I want a Libertarian utopian anarchy, but because I think the center of the star has floated a bit to far over the totalitarian side then I am comfortable with. If it moves back in the Liberty direction then I'd be less likely to tug as hard and more likely to enjoy that society has given me nice roads and at least a basically educated populace.

That's the Fox News Trick (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429561)

Fox gets you to support a candidate by telling you his views are, x,y,z..... usually low taxes, more freedom, ...
Once you're a team supporter, the definition of x,y,z is twisted to whatever the sponsors want x,y,z defined as, usually low taxes for super rich, more freedom for evil corp,...

People tend to stick with their 'team', even as the definition of their team is changed by others right in front of them. Forming ever more cognitive dissonance rather than reject their earlier choice.

It is absolutely like sports fans.

47% of a population is stupid? (0)

Guerilla Antix (859639) | about a year ago | (#43429311)

Yeah, that sounds about right.

Nothing more than a party trick. (1)

Leslie43 (1592315) | about a year ago | (#43429313)

People are exposed to both sides quite often, yet it doesn't change them, so catching them off guard and asking them to defend it really doesn't prove much of anything. Even he himself admits it probably won't stick.

It's nothing more than a party trick a magician or hypnotist would use.

No, it proves people vote on emotion (2)

jd.schmidt (919212) | about a year ago | (#43429331)

If your eyes have been open, it is pretty clear very many people are no longer using any kind of logic. Most political attitudes today are tribally based. Very rarely do people honestly consider what the other person is saying.

Poor theory of mind (1)

macraig (621737) | about a year ago | (#43429335)

Dogmatists simply can't conceive that anyone else would behave or perceive differently than them. They are the mold from which everyone else must de rigeur be cast.

All it really means... (2)

MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) | about a year ago | (#43429339)

is that a large portion of Swedes lie about when they will change their minds.

Wait a second... (0, Troll)

neo8750 (566137) | about a year ago | (#43429341)

Did you use an example of the united states against a study done in another country?? Sorry but us Americans are stubborn assholes who dont care about the issues all we care about is what the party says on the issue. Just my observation as an American.

Re:Wait a second... (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43429437)

Sorry but us Americans are stubborn assholes who dont care about the issues all we care about is what the party says on the issue.

Hi. I'm an American too. We aren't all stubborn assholes. Case in point, I tracked down this poster and told a truck full of passing conservatives that a single mother lived at the poster's home address and was collecting welfare. I don't think we'll be seeing him after tonight.

Somewhat more seriously though, to the international community: We're sick of the two-party system too. It's a joke; Nobody really feels their interests are well-represented by either party. As a result, we've taken to discussing politics like it's a sporting event -- we bet on which team will win, scream and dance around in our underwear in front of the TV during the national debates, and get drunk and then either cry, or riot, when our team wins. Because while our political system is shit, we still really, really enjoy watching people we don't like fail. Take Romney for example -- his epic failure kept me happy (and warm!) through most of the frigid Midwestern winter.

Re:Wait a second... (2)

serialband (447336) | about a year ago | (#43429499)

Don't vote for the 2 major parties. Vote for a 3rd party, write in a name or just put none of the above. If you live in a state that's already overwhelmingly Democrat or overwhelmingly Republican, you might as well vote for a 3rd party candidate. They're less likely in the pockets of the major donors. It's time to send a message to the career politicians and switch out the incumbents.

Re:Wait a second... (0)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43429577)

Don't vote for the 2 major parties. Vote for a 3rd party, write in a name or just put none of the above.

In closely-contested races, it's well-known that the opposing party will try to split the vote by trying to get more voters to endorse the third party, and thus the voting power of the opposition is reduced. Your suggestion here is criminally naive. That said, if a state is already "overwhelmingly" one thing or another, then odds are good there's an active minority party with similar affiliations to the dominant party; funded by the opposition.

If you want to change the two-party system, start by pushing for things like direct democracy; also known as the referendum vote. California is the most obvious example, but there are many others with it to varying degrees. This is what I tell everyone disaffected with the current system: Don't try to reform it, bypass it. The successful and viable third party will come through grass-roots issues like this. It's what Occupy should have done, instead of shooting itself in the head with petty infighting and disorganization, ultimately making it easy to destroy: Pick one issue, hammer it until you win, then pick a new one. You need votes, not picket lines.

Re:Wait a second... (1)

Balthisar (649688) | about a year ago | (#43429677)

We're in a mess, but direct democracy would screw up the mess that much more. Hello, proposition 8? Mob rule will never accomplish much.

Re:Wait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429621)

I tracked down this poster and told a truck full of passing conservatives that a single mother lived at the poster's home address and was collecting welfare. I don't think we'll be seeing him after tonight.

Because the conservatives will have raised a hefty charity pool among themselves and mailed it anonymously to the address, while a Prius full of liberals would have done nothing, smug in the satisfaction that the tax dollars from the truck full of conservatives kept the single mother in bondage to the liberal government?

Re:Wait a second... (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year ago | (#43429659)

Because the conservatives will have raised a hefty charity pool among themselves and mailed it anonymously to the address, while a Prius full of liberals would have done nothing, smug in the satisfaction that the tax dollars from the truck full of conservatives kept the single mother in bondage to the liberal government?

You don't watch the news [wbur.org] much, do you? They're trying to turn public education into an actual Hunger Games... do you really think they're into charity?

Re:Wait a second... (1)

neo8750 (566137) | about a year ago | (#43429637)

I'm not sure if you are saying i live in my parents basement or not... hehe

Also glad to see you dont grasp you are part of the minority. :)

Re:Wait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429655)

Well shit did i read that wrong or what....

Re:Wait a second... (1)

sycodon (149926) | about a year ago | (#43429767)

And here is a classic example of tribalism.

I worked with a young lady who gleeful told me of going to school in Ithaca, New York and going to protest George H. Bush. She didn't even give me time to ask and went on to say they didn't know why, it was just the thing to do.

Tribalism. Face Painters, Homers, Fan Boys. All the same.

Re:Wait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429537)

Did you use an example of the united states against a study done in another country?? Sorry but us Americans are stubborn assholes who dont care about the issues all we care about is what the party says on the issue. Just my observation as an American.

I agree. No way in hell this study would apply to USA. Also, our system of gov't is MUCH different than that of the parlimentary system used by Sweden and many European countries. In the Parlimentary system the parties are much more malleable and the political thought process is also much more malleable. We are locked into these two systems that will never change. When a new popular third party comes up, the party of the two main parties that is more closely aligned to the beliefs of the new third party simlly adopt the beliefs and policies and the third party dissappears.

Also, in the USA we are polarized by a few key issues that polarize the parties even more. Parties vote almost straight along their adopted beliefs: republicans vote for anti-abortion, anti-gun control, supposed low tax (which is actually only low tax for businessses not use individuals), anti-gay marriage, support of BS patriot act laws and the dems vote on the opposite (except patior act BS).

Re:Wait a second... (1)

riverat1 (1048260) | about a year ago | (#43429757)

I'd bet that if you conducted the experiment in the USA the results wouldn't be much different. People are people.

Romney failed to understand his own consituency (-1, Troll)

sandytaru (1158959) | about a year ago | (#43429351)

A lot of his "47%" - the ones who actually voted for him, included the very people he called out for wanting things from the government. A single white mother in Alabama is more likely to be on welfare and more likely to vote Republican. An elderly gentleman on Medicare in California is more likely to be on SSI and to vote Republican. Not all Republicans are moochers (or at least they're not bottom feeding moochers - many very rich people are sucking just as heavily off the government teat as their poorer brethren), but neither are all Democrats. He failed to recognize that 53% of the country doesn't want things to be free - they want things to be fair. Right now, the game is rigged and over half of us knew it last November.

As for TFA, it's true that all politics is local. Everyone will vote for the lesser of two evils when two evils are the only choice, even if the lesser is not necessarily part of their own party. Given the choice between a moderate Republican and a Tea Partier, without any other left leaning options, I'll go for the moderate.

Re:Romney failed to understand his own consituency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429387)

He failed to recognize that 53% of the country doesn't want things to be free - they want things to be fair.

How, then, did we end up with Obama?

99.9999% of the country doesn't give a fuck about fairness. They want theirs, and those other people are just evil and stupid.

Re:Romney failed to understand his own consituency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429447)

How, then, did we end up with Obama?

Mitt Romney convinced more people to vote for Obama.

And for House Democrats for that matter.

The same applied to Mitt's Repulican primary opponents. They were scarier than him.

Still looking for a moderate Republican.

Re:Romney failed to understand his own consituency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429503)

Mass. voter here. What set Romney apart from other politicians was the gall in which he could forcefully articulate a whole set of positions 180 degrees different from the ones he ran on (at a different level) a few years ago. He seemed to have no shame, no embarrassment at being called on it. So when he ran for two offices in Massachusetts (unsuccessfully for the Senate, successfully for Governor) he was moderate-to-liberal across the board on social issues, conservative on fiscal matters. About halfway through his four year term as governor (he didn't seek re-election) he seemed to get Potomac fever and remade himself as a social conservative, had an "epiphany" on abortion (his word), became far right on illegal immigration (despite having been caught by local newspapers with crews of undocumented workers clearing leaves from his suburban yard), gay marriage, etc. The truth is he really didn't get a hang about any of that social stuff, he didn't consider that his "special sauce" as a leader. As for the "47 percent", I think Mitt really is personally opposed to most welfare and to the minimum wage, but again, I think he was just being histrionic to bond with a partisan local crowd - similar to what Obama was caught doing with his infamous "clinging to guns and religion" remark four years earlier. They both exaggerated for effect and they both got caught on tape.

that's surprising? (3, Interesting)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year ago | (#43429407)

Most people don't know any of the science behind nuclear power, global warming, environmental protection, or race relations. Whether it's Democrats or Republicans, their beliefs about these subjects are based purely on what their favorite political personality tells them. So if you try to justify their position, they start spouting nonsense, and they probably don't remember what their position is if they are on their own to make a choice.

As for the presidential candidates, in practice, they were interchangeable: both Obama and Romney were bent on violating the Constitution, civil liberties, and handing large amounts of money to their buddies and constituents, at the cost of everybody else. We happened to get Obama, and he has delivered on that program "beautifully". Obama's pride and overconfidence makes it even easier for special interest groups to pull his strings than Bush's simplicity.

Not what he said (2, Informative)

Metrol (147060) | about a year ago | (#43429425)

"When U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney said last year that he was not even going to try to reach 47% of the US electorate"

Got to wonder about an article that starts out this way. Grant you, I haven't gone back and reviewed the video in a while. Still, I'm pretty sure what he said was that about 47% of the population wouldn't be interested in him and a platform for a smaller government. I certainly don't recall anything even approaching the notion that he was going to ignore half the population. That is a LOT different than focusing your message on those you think would be most interested in your message.

Every campaign focuses their attention on those votes they're most likely to get. You didn't see Obama spending a lot of his campaign in states that weren't likely to go his way no matter what. Certainly he had his strategy sessions that had they been publicly released wouldn't be especially flattering either.

Re:Not what he said (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429607)

Don't get in the way of their rewriting the past. We have always been at war with EastAsia.

And don't you forget it!

And actually, Mitt Romney's remarks were more desparaging than strategic.

Can't you SMELL the human/alien hybrids? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429455)

all around you - same scent!

not sure about this study but... (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about a year ago | (#43429475)

The biggest problem with politics is that the very vocal participants are always the extremists, one way or another. Most people really don't care all that much about either party aside from one or two specific positions, like gun control or taxes or abortion rights. It's kind of like how you can't find many libertarians that are actually libertarian across a wide range of topics outside of "small government." Or like how someone will be a hardcore republican simply because they want to own firearms.

Our political choices have way more to do with fighting *against* something than *for* something, which is sad considering this is supposed to be the land of liberty and justice for all.

Not from left to right (5, Insightful)

orasio (188021) | about a year ago | (#43429487)

In the US there are no left wing parties. As an example, "socialist" can be used as an insult there. From the outside, all US politicians are right wing (meaning that they are not for wealth redistribution or any other left wing concept). It's not that hard to change from strongly conservative to not that strongly conservative.

Re:Not from left to right (5, Insightful)

femtobyte (710429) | about a year ago | (#43429613)

It's not true that our politicians aren't for wealth redistribution. In fact, they're pretty evenly divided between wanting slow upward wealth redistribution, or very rapid upward wealth redistribution.

Re:Not from left to right (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429753)

John Jackson: "It's time someone had the courage to stand up and say: I'm against those things that everybody hates."
Jack Johnson: "Now, I respect my opponent. I think he's a good man. But quite frankly, I agree with everything he just said."
John Jackson: "I say your three cent titanium tax goes too far."
Jack Johnson: "And I say your three cent titanium tax doesn't go too far enough."

Mod parent up. (1)

bussdriver (620565) | about a year ago | (#43429713)

That can't be said enough. wish i had points.
I LIVE in the USA and it's so much worse having to live with their ignorance as it tears up the once great nation (or that is what I was taught, maybe it never was all that great.)

Have to trot this out again... (2)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#43429489)

I treat political parties like phone providers. If they don't connect with me I switch.

I'll register as whatever the dominant party is in a district so that my vote in the primary counts, because sometimes your vote is worthless in the general election. This happens most frequently with the Democratic Party in cities.

That doesn't mean "I'm a Democrat". It means that I'm using the provider that works best, and strategically using the system just like they do.

Party loyalty? For most people it makes no sense. With few exceptions, you are an idiot to claim loyalty to a party, or to think of it as virtuous. The exceptions? Influence peddlers and politicians. Lawyers also tend to be creatures of party, even if they don't get very far in the hierarchy. It's ugly though. I know a very intelligent Republican who fits into the lawyer category, and hearing him argue that Palin was a good choice was just hilarious. Now the party to which he is so loyal is disagreeing with him over immigration so they can get teh votez. Loyalty? Principal? Parties have no such thing. Loyalty to a party? Maybe it's silly for everybody, not just the common man.

It's easy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429547)

It's easy to transform my political views and get me to support Ried, Pelosi and Obama. All I need is a lobotomy and an Obama Phone!

And maybe some food stamps.

Sucker Born Every Minute (1)

Baby Duck (176251) | about a year ago | (#43429595)

So I'm guessing the other 81% said "Hey! You changed my answers!" No, I did not RTFA. The 19% are too stupid to realize answers they JUST GAVE have been switched. If RTFA shows otherwise, then the summary is pretty s#!++y.

Sweden (1)

cmay (687134) | about a year ago | (#43429599)

Something tells me the political parties in Sweden are not as divisive as in the US (I have no knowledge of Swedish politics, but I could imagine both parties being reasonably sane, and not extreme, and probably both to the left of Obama).

Illusion of choice (1)

Carnivore24 (467239) | about a year ago | (#43429627)

The entire political system today is based entirely on an illusion of choice. With the help of mainstream media the entire country is spoon fed two political ideologies based on ancient structures that neither party follow. 99% of all US media is political opinion talking heads and death stories. Every presidential election the country is somehow mysteriously divided 49/51 with the "popular" candidate winning. The same 2-3 family networks have been in power for ages and there is no chance of any 3rd party getting into the big family. There is very little difference in how each party votes on legislation and neither party sticks with their parties ideologies. If people voted based on what their candidates actually did in office instead of what their favorite parties wikipedia description says they are supposed to do we might have a different country. The only thing politicians are concerned about are pushing through legislation that favors their donators/lobbyists and staying in power so they are set for retirement. People need to stop watching all news channels and pay attention to what politicians are doing all year every year instead of 3 months every 4 years.

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429673)

All this shows is that people are willing to lie to avoid looking like they made a mistake. Not one single person left there with a different opinion than they started with.

Two parties aren't actually alternatives (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about a year ago | (#43429691)

Whether you vote Demican or Republicrat, you're basically voting the same thing. Increased government control and eroding personal liberties. You can argue on the what and how, but the why is already pretty much a fait accompli.

People flip between parties because the parties offer similar platforms. It's just a question of which gives the most bread and offers the most entertaining circuses.

Summary != Study (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | about a year ago | (#43429695)

The article gets it wrong. It says:

...most voters are locked in to their ideological party loyalty. But Lars Hall, a cognitive scientist at Lund University in Sweden, knew better.

1) Voters are not locked into their *ideological* party. They are locked into their *political* party. This is a very important difference!

Most people follow the color, the banner, or the party name -- not the philosophy. Philosophy is something people think about, study, and decide upon using rational thought. But political parties (at least in the US) rarely actually follow a philoshy. The usually use the looser term "platform" which consists of a series of malleable ideas that can actually mean the exact opposite of what the original underlying philisophy might have once been.

Ex: Republicans are "fiscally conservative" thus they are against welfare spending. Not quite! They are against welfare for the poor and minorities. But they are in favor of welfare for the elderly and veterans. The true "conservative" is fiscally conservative equally to all people. Republicans tend to believe in states rights: except for marijuana, gay marriage, and gambling. George HW Bush campaigned on the conservative principle of getting out of the affairs of other nations. Then he invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. One can play the same game for democrats too. Party != Philosophy.

2) "Political magic" and "Voter manipulation" as it is called in the article does not mean the voter changed their actual vote. People often act and sound more open minded then they actually are once they walk into the polling booth.

stoopid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43429707)

reading just the summary, of course, something here is stoopid. Either the summary gets it totally wrong, or the research sounds bad. It sounds to me like people trust the decisions they just made and don't try to re-think them. This makes much more sense to me, as the mind is very efficient and takes a lot of shortcuts. If you just decided what your answer is, you're not going to go through the effort of figuring out what it was, all over again.

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