Many people believe that voters’ positions are determined by their objective self-interest. I call this the SIVH — the Self-Interested Voter Hypothesis. A massive body of evidence shows that the SIVH is just plain wrong. Self-interest has no more than sporadic marginal effects on political views.
Successful politicians usually seem well-aware of the weakness of the SIVH. To win support, they appeal to the public interest and ideology, not self-interest. What’s really strange about Romney’s recently revealed gaffe, then, is that he seems to take an extreme version of the SIVH for granted.
The 47% won’t vote for Obama “no matter what.” Almost half of voters who earn less than the median income vote Republican in the typical election. A person doesn’t support the nanny state because he wants government to take care of him; a person supports the nanny state because he wants government to take care of us. I say this even though I’m far more opposed to the nanny state than Romney has ever been.
Caplan is also skeptical that this quotation will be what sinks Romney’s candidacy. The whole thing is here.
Here is a Gallup Poll that shows that Romney gets a third of the votes cast by Americans earning under $24,000.
Finally, as Reason’s Nick Gillespie wrote this morning, Obama is one lucky guy.
Last week, he got a near-total pass from the press regarding foreign policy due to what was at worst a case of bad timing by GOP challenger Mitt Romney. This week (and possibly beyond), Obama is being helped out big time by the release of a tape in which Romney inveighs against people who receive payouts from the government.
Maybe Romney could have waited another few hours after the killing of our ambassador to Libya but does anyone still think that Obama has any idea of what he’s doing with regard to foreign policy?
Yet after disastrous attacks on U.S. people and places in Egypt and Libya – and thoroughly unconvincing claims by the administration that such deadly violence “is not an expression of hostility in the broader sense toward the United States or U.S. policy” – it was Mitt Romney who got tagged as having “the worst week in Washington.” According to the media, Romney had finally crossed a line no decent human being ever dare cross by criticizing a sitting president while protesters demonstrated outside something like 20 U.S. embassies around the globe.