Voter psychology

This weekend, I visited my grandma in Riverside, California. The first thing we talked about was the special election last Tuesday; what she voted for and why. My grandma fits in with powerful voting demographics in the Southern part of the state: she grew up in the midwest, she watches a lot of TV, she hates "Sacramento" but respects her local government.

She told me she "didn't care what it was, she was voting against everything on that ballot." For her it was a chance to reject California politics and its current figurehead in Arnold Schwarzenegger; there isn't a "no confidence" box for voters to tick in candidate elections.

I asked her if she had read what the initiatives were about. Yes. Why did she vote against Prop 79, which would have helped a lot of poor people get medicine discounts? She didn't see how it would help anyone she knew, and she's overwhelmingly suspicious of anything to do with Pharma. Yet she hated that some of the propositions would have weakened teachers' and nurses' unions. "Why did Schwarzenegger want to hurt nurses? Wicked, evil man." She didn't have much thought for how this might help the Democratic Party in California.

It left me wanting to read a report on voter psychology... what kinds of justifications do people make for their votes?

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