Are you Voting Correctly?: Or, How Informed is your Vote?

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National public opinion polls consistently show that over 60 percent of the American public believe the country is on the “wrong track”. This is not a new finding. It is also incredibly difficult to determine exactly what these results indicate. This is partially due to the fact that which factor(s) place the country on the “right track” or the “wrong track” vary from respondent to respondent. Additionally, many of these respondents cannot agree on the facts. That is to say, whichever factor(s) taken into account when deciding if the country is on the right track or the wrong track, how that factor(s) is interpreted varies. Much of this variance is tied to partisanship.

Partisanship alters perception and thereby makes facts subjective. For example, according to the Pew Research Center 51 percent of Americans favor free trade agreements. However, among Trump supporters this number is only 27 percent. Among Clinton supporters the number is 58 percent. Pew Research Center also finds that 40 percent of Americans believe terrorists now have a greater ability to launch an attack on the United States than before September 11th. Among republicans this number is 58 percent. Among Democrats it is 31 percent. There are significant differences in public opinion between partisans on the dangers of immigration. There is even vast differences in partisan public opinion about what institutions and laws are important to democracy.

However, this becomes problematic during the course of an election. Voting is based on “facts”. Facts determine policy. Policy is politics. How voters interpret facts determines the direction of the country. Therefore, it is crucial to be able to properly interpret facts so that the voters can vote in line with their interests and put the country back on the “right track”. And this can only be accomplished if voters are adequately informed. Are you adequately informed and prepared to cast an informed ballot on November 8th?

Yo can take a step in learning the answer via this quiz from PBS NewsHour.


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