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Dec 31 2012

Low Information Voters

Voters who are less informed about politics have been called “low information voters”. The terms “less informed” and “low information” are relative. Low information voters tend to be denigrated by both sides as ignorant, en-educated and even stupid or anti-intellectual. The fact that a high percentage of incumbents get re-elected, regardless of party affiliation and without being penalized for extreme positions tends to support the theory that both sides cater to the voter who lacks attention and information.

Low information voters are vulnerable to making decisions based on superficial evidence. But that trait alone does not make them automatically ignorant or stupid. There are plenty of low information voters who are content to rely on a single source or type of source of information. In fact, it can be argued that most voters select a type of bias in the media they consume and rely upon it to provide them with their information, even though it is biased. This can be either because they are too content and satisfied with their choice to challenge it or because they are unaware of the bias.

Both our media and our politicians cater to the low information consumer of their products and survive on that relationship. By providing small bytes of low information that reinforce existing thought trends or stimulate a predictable response, they ensure continued support. Information consumers seem to prefer pleasant entertainment over strenuous analysis or anything that challenges their world view.