The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

March Common Ground E-Newsletter

2015 March 26

Do the Facts Work For You?
An increasing body of evidence shows that we all tend to push away facts that do not support
our views, while pulling friendly information close, whether it be factual or not. Arthur Lupia of 
the University of Michigan suggests we apply the flight-or-fight reflex not only to predators
but to data itself.
Some studies have suggested that facts, presented as aggression against one’s beliefs, actually make people hold on to their beliefs-- even false beliefs -- more doggedly.
This can be a serious problem for most of us arguing for our views in civic society.
If you want someone to accept the facts, don’t confront them as if you have a loaded gun in your hand. It will only trigger an emotionally-heated defense, suggests Dan Kahan of Yale University. Doing such a thing would directly contradict the advice of every successful political strategist alive today.
Lie to Your Pollster!
Over the months ahead millions will be spent by politicians and their pollsters to tag you and every other voter you know. They will know all they can, not only your views but right down to who you will likely vote for and whether you will need a little prodding to show up on Election Day.
These will not be polls designed to improve your life or advance your points of view. They are designed to figure out how to manipulate you, how best to get you to support one candidate over another. Or more often now, to get ...

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