Swing Voter, Floating Voter, Party Faithful, Which Are You? Who should you vote for, and why?

Does my vote count anyway?

I love politics. Can't tell you why exactly. I just feel drawn to the concept of opposing groups of people with their own various agendas chipping away at each other through debate. All those points made and lost. I even like foreign politics. I want to know what people have to say and what makes them say it.

Perhaps it's in my genes. My great grandfather sat in the Houses of Parliament in London in the 20s and 30s, noting down the business of the day, then transmitting news articles via Morse Code, if you please! He, like me, loved politics in all it's forms, and liked nothing better tthan to continue debating after hours in whatever journalistic watering hole he happened to find himself in.

One of the seriously huge things that fascinates me most is how people choose their affiliations. Why do people vote what they vote. In fact, why do people vote at all?

Here in Britain we're daily nudging closer to the 2015 general election. We have a coalition government led by an underwhelming Prime Minister who is desparate to finish the job he set out to do in 2010. The world wide recession has already been forgotten by a fickle public, and lots of voters want change. The thinking seems to be, well if this lot haven't balanced the books yet, perhaps the other lot might do better. A huge chunk of the population will dutifully trudge down to the polls on the appointed day and make their mark, but what will they vote? What will you vote? What kind of a voter are you?

The Swing Voter, or Floating Voter

These guys are like gold-dust to the career politician. They not only have minds, they can change them too! The floating voter is a challenge. An enigma. They are the political equivalent of a heathen waiting to discover Christianity. Or a punter checking out the horses at the racetrack, and hoping to choose the winner. Will their vote change the world, and tip chaos into order? Floating voters watch the American-style tv debates with rapt attention, patiently devouring every word, and maybe even taking notes!

The floating voter is courted with promises of tax cuts, better schools, better roads, better health-care. Give us your vote, and your newly elected government will deliver the goods. Maybe.

The Old Faithful Voter

The Old Faithful Voter doesn't think too hard about politics. He or she just sticks their cross in the same party box that their parents did, and their grand-parents before them. If you try pointing out that the country has changed a little since Churchill's day (or Roosevelt's, or Gandhi's etc, etc) they just look at you with a blank, faraway expression in their eyes. They are voting out of brand loyalty and because of family tradition. These people prefer to stick to the tried and trusted. Generation after generation.

The Capricious Voter

These voters are the kind of people who give their children names like Tinkerbell and Javelin. They like to be different. The political persuasion of their chosen candidate matters a darn sight less than whether he or she drives a pink car, or has fifteen letters in their sir-name, or happens to be born in the year of the Tiger. This voter could be won over by the right choice of campaign song ('Things Can Only Get Better', or 'The Only Way is Up' or maybe, 'Jesus wants me for a SunBeam') After all it's the little things that count.

The Tactical Voter

This voter hasn't a clue about policy either. He's confused about the issues, but he knows that he doesn't like the current administration. If he votes for the other main party he'll be breaking life-long loyalties, and he can't bring himself to do that, so he'll vote for one of the other parties, or maybe even for one of the other, other parties, like the Greens, or UKIP, or the Monster Raving Loonies. That'll be one in the eye for the government. Yeah, that'll teach 'em!

What Kind of Voter Are You?

Would you say that you are mostly

  • A Floating Voter or a Swing Voter
  • An Old Faithful Voter
  • A Capricious Voter
  • A Tactical Voter
  • I never vote. Politicians are all the same.
  • None of the above
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Comments 32 comments

ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 7 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

I too love politics, in my own way :) Fancy an MP in the family.


CJStone profile image

CJStone 7 years ago from Whitstable, UK

I was a Labour man all my life, until Tony Blair got in. Since then I've been effectively disenfranchised, as there is no true Labour Party left. So I'm a capricious voter now I guess. Last time it was the Money Reform party, the time before that the Legalise Cannabis Party. Both times I was the election agent. Talk about backing a lost cause!


pgrundy 7 years ago

I pretty much vote the left, as far left as i can in the U.S., which isn't very far. It's not that I hold strong political views so much as I'm tired of all the greed and BS over here, plus I think people should be able to be who they are without being harrassed constantly. Thanks for asking!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Sorry Ethel. i should have worded that better. My great grandfather sat in the houses of parliament whilst working for a newsagency. Reuters I believe, although I've heard two different versions, so he may have changed employers at some point!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

CJ, I think you're a hybrid between a capricious voter, and a tactical voter. Money reform and legalise cannabis! LOL! I agree that there wasn't a huge difference between Blair's new Labour, and John Major's old Tories, or at least not to begin with. But there is a yawning void between Cameron's new Tories and Brown's evolved new Labour. To my mind, the Liberal Party has a raft of traditional Socialist ideas on offer. I'm getting to quite like Nick Clegg and Vince Cable. They're relatively normal and sane compared to some of the others!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Pam, I used to think my politics were right of centre until I started reading about American politics. Now I discover that far from being a Tory I'm actually a Communist! Hilarious! I have to thank you so much for all the political insight I've gleaned from reading your hubs. You've certainly made me question my beliefs and ideas since I've been here on Hubpages.


pgrundy 7 years ago

Wow, really? Oh no! LOL! Seriously, it's pretty weird over here lately. I think compared to some of the voters in the U.S. most Brits and Europeans come off looking like the Red Menace. At least we can laugh about it here at HP--that helps a bit. I used to think of myself as fairly moderate too, but now I understand I am a foaming at the mouth commie, so welcome!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Hey Amanda, I too like politics but am confused as to why. If I like it so much, why not get involved, I wonder to myself. However, I find that the parties fluctuate in their beliefs so much that I can't possibly commit to either Republican or Democrat and I don't want to throw my vote by going Green at this point.

I am stuck on issues. Whomever happens to be on the side of my issues during any given voting season gets my vote, lol. I would say that I am a Compassionate Conservative- if there were such a thing, though many would call me a Ranting Radical, which always cracks me up.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y.

I'm a political junkie, too. I like your hub, and I've given it a thumbs up, but my views are far different from those you express here. I'm a staunch advocate of the two-party system here in the U.S. There's a vast difference between the philosphies of the Democrats and Republicans, which I won't detail here (I've done so in several hubs.) While individual candidates may not be ideal, it would be foolish for me to vote for a Republican no matter how intelligent or moderate he/she might be because that person would support virtually everything I oppose. There will always be liberals and conservatives. There's no way around it. You are either on one side or the other. There is no middle ground. Voting for third parties is like sticking your head in the sand.


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 7 years ago from Tucson, Az

whoa!! did you say your name was william Tory?? lol just kidding...I totally disagree...there are way more than JUST 2 PARTIES/ the problem is US brand of politics with the popular vote counting as zip/remember the snafu with wfbush first election/and electoral votes ...all of us are looking at he district of columbia through rose colored glasses if we think our votes counts!! it depends on how many electoral votes your states have and who is in control of those votes dem or rep...still I have voted acutally...twice...once for nixon and once for j mccain...so as you can see once I voted the way my father told me to(old faithful) and once I voted with my heart(swing)


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 7 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

I'm a bit out of touch with UK politics because here in Qatar we hear mostly about international politics (and military actions), with particular focus on the Gulf hotspots, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria. No Qatari politics of course because it's a wholly benign dictatorship (that also owns the media ;)

I've often voted Liberal when in UK, sometimes Labour, never Tory. And, like you, I find American politics (or at least political rhetoric) very strange.


Elena. profile image

Elena. 7 years ago from Madrid

Hi, Amanda! Here's another political junkie, and I'm not sure where the love of the game comes from, certainly not from a family member being in the business!

I'm closer to a swing voter, but I'd call it more like "voter of principles" :P I don't vote out of affiliation nor out of trying to piss off the current party in office, I think I vote mostly based on two factors, to put it simplistically: what's closer to my way of seeing life and issues (pulls my vote) AND promises unfulfilled or dishonesty shown (pushes my vote and I may end up with a blank vote in my hands).


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Storytellersrus, I like the phrase 'Compassionate Conservative'. I think that's how I'd describe myself most of the time, or at least from a British viewpoint. The trouble is, that from an American viewpoint I'm far too vocal an advocate for 'socialist' ideas such as universal healthcare to be considered even remotely conservative! Right now we're going such a period of change in the UK that I doubt our present parties will recognise even themselves by the time the next election is called (probably next May for us).


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Pam, my dear comrade! LOL! Yes, we Brits and Europeans do sound like the Red Menace compared to many Americans. Still it's good to have debate. If we all thought the same the world would be a boring place.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi William, we had a two party system in Britain until Labour started building it's power-base in the early 20th century. Things can, and do, change once there is sufficient ground-swell of public opinion. At the moment we have three main parties with representatives in parliament, the Conservatives, New Labour and the LIberals, plus representatives from regional political parties who have specific local interests to protect. For close on a century the ruling party has been either Labour or Conservative, but these are interesting times, and anything can happen!


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi RNSMN, I agree with you that the extra parties are often what makes things interesting. Yes there's black and white, but there's also shades of gray in between. Over here we have some great borderline parties, and many of them actually win seats in local elections, and in European Parliament elections. Variety is good. It gives the bigger parties something extra to think about.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Paraglider, as I said to CJ, I like a lot of the things that the Liberals have to say, but I also like many Tory policies too. I do, however, know who won't be getting my vote! Politics in Britain are dominated by the economic downturn at present. The MPs expenses scandal is all a bit of a distraction really. Things will really start hotting up once they announce the election date, and that can't be too far off now.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Elena, I think it all comes down to being a student of human nature. The Romans had gladiators fight to the death in the arena, and we have politicians battling it out in Parliament! You are a rare creature if you choose afresh each election and make a decision based on the current situation. If all voters were more like you, politicians would have to work a lot harder to gain respect and votes.


BrianS profile image

BrianS 7 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

I think it is a good idea to read the party manifesto and vote for the party that seems most aligned to your points of view, not that they do what they say they will very often. I suspect that people vote more on personalities these days, Big Brother has a lot to answer for, how many times have you heard I just liked that one!! Oh well, just my opinion.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Brian, I doubt whether many people read the party manifestos, but they certainly ought to! Politics these days appears to be very underhanded with lots of plotting and scheming going on in the background. Maybe it's always been like that, and we just get to know more these days!


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona

Well written and informative Hub...Thank you

Many folks just aren't that interested in politics like some of us.... these folks vote instinctively, emotionally, and probably rely on name recognition for many of their votes...this is not necessarily a bad thing; at least they are voting...you can't bitch if you don't vote....

I guess in the long run, you always get the government you deserve....


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Maven. Yes, you're absolutely right in that if you can't be bothered to vote, then you've no right to complain. Having said that, I'm not sure we ever get the government we deserve, as too many politicians are either there for the wrong reasons, or are weak and ineffectual. Still, I enjoy watching it all, and I think that our forthcoming election will be (almost) as interesting as the Obama/Bush contest!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 7 years ago from Chicago

I vote strictly on the issues. I not only vote, I am actively involved in politics.

Here in the US, the 2 major parties represent a completely opposite worldview these days. It didn't use to be this way. In the 1950s and 1960s, the differences were more subtle. The big change happened when the Radical Left took control of the Democratic Party in the 1972 election cycle—where they were promptly trounced.

I have never voted for any candidate who is not Pro-Life.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi James, Since I've been on hubPages I've learned quite a bit about the differences between American politics and British politics, and believe me the differences are HUGE! What you guys regard as radical left wing politics, are what we regard as moderate socialism, and as such, we have embraced the best of those notions (such as Universal Health Care) that in America are so often regarded with suspicion. Or cultures are different, and the language used when discussing politics seems to have completely different meanings on either side of the Atlantic. Having said all that, I still find American politics fascinating, if a little difficult to identify with!


Writer Rider 7 years ago

Fun political hub! I'm both a swing and capricious voter! That is I vote for the person I figure will tighten the nuts and bolts correctly..


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Writer Rider. I haven't seen you around so much lately on HubPages, so it's good to hear from you. The poll figures are coming up strongly in favour of swing voters, and I'd like to think that more people are heading that way!

I don't know if you keep an eye on British politics, but our next election should be announced in the next few months. It's going to be interesting.....!


Writer Rider 7 years ago

Hi Amanda, no I haven't. That's because I'm working on a very important project which I'll talk about in due time. I'm a swing voter but I like the ideals behind the democratic party in my country the most. No, unfortunately my country has such outlandish, vitrolic, traumatizing elections that it's hard to pay attention to what's going on elsewhere. But now that you mention it, I will be paying attention to the elections in the UK.


AEvans profile image

AEvans 7 years ago from SomeWhere Out There

I am the swing voter, but I don't know about being courted. I am one of those people that so many hate.lolololo :D


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 7 years ago from Southern California, USA

I am a liberal Democrat because I actually have supported the issues of nationalized health care and other more left wing policies for awhile. I agree the US is primarily a two party system, and the only time a third party candidate actually had somewhat of a chance is when Ross Perot ran in 1992. However, his dropping out of the race, and reappearing again confused a lot of voters, and many people did not want to throw their votes away.

I did like some of his policies, and I actually did agree with his stance on NAFTA, even though many thought it was silly at the time. So overall I am a liberal Democrat, but I have appreciate some more conservative politicians such as Perot.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi AEvans, you're so right in that politicians have to work doubly hard to win over the swing voters, which must be frustrating for the poor dears! (LOL!)

Hi Sweetie Pie, I always have trouble picturing how American political parties correspond to ours. This can be tricky as you seem to use the same names, but have different policies. Conservative politics here are nowhere near as right wing as they are in America, and our socialist politics are not as left wing as they used to be, but everything could change after the next election!


Plants and Oils profile image

Plants and Oils 7 years ago from England

What an interesting hub! I'm a floating voter, I think. I certainly am not one of those people who would vote for a dishcloth if it were blue, or a donkey if it sang the Red Flag.

Like you also, from reading on hubpages I've discovered I'm not centre-right, but Stalinist.


Amanda Severn profile image

Amanda Severn 7 years ago from UK Author

Hi Plants and Oils, yes, compared to American politics, our political ideas sound like the rabid rant of dyed in the wool Communists! And I used to think I was centre-right too!

I'm looking forward to the General Election. Should be very interesting, and full of surprises this time.

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