The “Student Blog Post” series invites students from my PLS 321: Electoral Process course to author their own blogs about recent election events.
As the election is coming to a rapid end, the 2016 Presidential candidates are scrambling to gain the votes of undecided voters. Far gone are the days where voters would cast their vote based on the candidates’ party identification. This election also made it harder for undecided voters to commit to either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump as their characters have been called into question throughout the race. On Sunday, October 23rd, 2016, BBC News published an article where it covered an announcement that Clinton will focus on political issues during the remaining time of her campaign, instead of on Trump. The article covered how Clinton is focused more on informing the voting public on where she stands on issues rather than getting sucked in by Trump’s constant character attacks. However, this brings up the issue of the lack of voter knowledge Americans have about political processes.
According to the Michigan Model, which aims to understand the psychological and sociological factors of voting, a voter decides to vote through a process called the “Funnel of Causality.” Through this process, a voter considers party identification (most important), a candidate’s characteristics, and a candidate’s stance on issues (least important). This year, because of the candidate’s running, it seems like voters are moving through the entire funnel to consider a candidate’s stance on the issues.
Unfortunately for the Michigan Model, this year’s election has turned the model on its head because individual are now considering the candidates stance on issue to be more important. However, voters may not be adequately informed of the issue and each candidate’s stance on them. With this election, the psychological factor is called into question because voters are not informed enough on the issues, or care enough about their political party identification because some Democrats can’t bring themselves to vote for Trump and some Republicans can’t bring themselves to vote for Clinton
While the Michigan Model may work on most voters, it is struggles to explain the choice of the undecided voter. This election is requiring voters not only to inform themselves of the candidates stance on issues.
Evelyn Uribe Lomeli is a fourth year political science major. She enjoys binging on tacos, and is an avid hockey and baseball fan. She plans to work for think tanks in Washington D.C. after graduation.