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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!