The prediction of voting behavior of undecided voters poses a challenge to psychologists and pollsters. Recently, researchers argued that implicit attitudes would predict voting behavior particularly for undecided voters whereas explicit attitudes would predict voting behavior particularly for decided voters. We tested this assumption in two studies in two countries with distinct political systems in the context of real political elections. Results revealed that (a) explicit attitudes predicted voting behavior better than implicit attitudes for both decided and undecided voters, and (b) implicit attitudes predicted voting behavior better for decided than undecided voters. We propose that greater elaboration of attitudes produces stronger convergence between implicit and explicit attitudes resulting in better predictive validity of both, and less incremental validity of implicit over explicit attitudes for the prediction of voting behavior. However, greater incremental predictive validity of implicit over explicit attitudes may be associated with less elaboration.
Monday, September 17, 2012
Do implicit attitudes predict actual voting behavior?
How can psychologists and pollsters predict the voting behavior of undecided voters? Is there is any hope for us Obama supporters who worry about the effectiveness of the clever framing of the conservative marketing aimed at undecided voters that pushes emotional buttons with complete disregard for rationality or facts? Friese et al. show that explicit attitudes predict voting behavior better than implicit attitudes for both decided and undecided voters, while implicit attitudes predict voting behavior better for decided than undecided voters. While this is not to say that explicit attitudes can't also be based on irrationality, it does argue against the power of implicit attitudes of which the voter is unaware. Here is their abstract: