I have been wondering. Politics is an interesting beast and right now in NZ, its akin to watching a ship that keeps on crashing onto the reef. In the last week or so, I have run into a wide gambit of the public who would be placed all along the political spectrum, and some who, despite the overwhelming evidence of madness, are hell bent on wearing their blinkers (in my humble opinion). In an effort to understand the psyche of the average voter punter, I have been thinking about the people I meet and from where I sit, there seems to be four main groups one might politically fall into.
Choosing who to vote for can be a tricky proposition for some. What drives us to vote (or not) is seeped in a range of factors such as societal, social, familial and emotional. I posted on this earlier and you can read that here. Not all of those are logical, and for people who are passionate about politics and the importance of their democratic right to vote, their dogged determination to vote for a particular party is as parochial as ones passion for a particular rugby team. In complete contrast to the 'doggedly parochial' are the 'blissfully indifferent' who, if they indeed vote, are non committal, unconcerned and wander around the country complexly disinterested in all things political. Somewhere in-between are the undecided 'swingers' (not to be confused with swingers, if you know what I mean) who switch between the left and the right. Then of course, there is the "conscientious non voter' who chooses to take a stand by not voting.
Group One: The Doggedly Parochial
These are the people who are a staunch supporter of a particular party, left or right. They have always voted this way, always will and can not usually be swayed by others. Irrespective of what their respective party throws up as policy, they will always vote for their team.
Group Two: Blissfully Indifferent
Blissfully indifferent are similar to the Undecided Swingers in that if they vote, they will rock on up to the polling booth on the day, quite likely to choose their party on random, or at the last minute. I find those that fit into this group a bit of an enigma, as narrowing down their motivation to vote, or not to, can be as slippery as an eel.
Group Three: Undecided Swingsters
The Undecided fit into two groups - those who are easily beguiled by the baubles of the pre election promises (like tax cuts), and those who patiently wait until election day to make their decision. They carefully weigh up which party offers what. Often these voters are those who sit somewhere in the centre, and attract the vigorous 'wooing' of all the parties, particularly the two largest - and closest to centre left or centre right. It is this vigorous 'wooing' that can seem, to the doggedly parochial, to be the main cause of the watering down of their respective parties policies.
Group Four: Conscientious Non Voter
This is perhaps the most concerning of all the types of voters. These people choose not to vote, often as a protest against the 'system'. This protest can be either because they think their vote is a waste of time, pointless and not required, or because they don't trust any of the parties and feel voting is beneath their moral compass. Earlier this year I posted on why I think people should vote, and in particular how the power of the single vote is indeed not at all pointless. Suffice to say, the amount of people who don't vote continues to be of concern in New Zealand, and this group is bigger than one would like in a democracy.
Those are the four main types of voter I have had the pleasure of coming across in recent weeks. By no means a definitive list, but certainly each voter 'type' comes with both its positives and with its challenges for the parties who are out there seeking votes. Which do you associate the most with?
I have said it before so I will repeat it again - I don't mind what way you swing your vote, just that you exercise your democratic right to vote.