Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post Election Emotions

An interesting Press Release from Brandtrust, Inc.:


Chicago—Oct. 29, 2008—Voters envision an apocalyptic America filled with chaos, corruption and despair if the candidate whom they oppose is elected on Nov. 4. A study conducted in September by Brandtrust, a strategic research firm specializing in methodology designed to uncover emotional and psychological insights, revealed that committed party voters become highly emotionally charged, and they begin to speak of their survival in a very tribal and primal manner when asked to visualize what life would be like with the opposing party in office.

In the study—which was designed to better understand the underlying emotional drivers of party loyalty—voters commented that, “It’s more like a war,” “As soon as the energy leaves, there is a feeling of doomsday,” and “If you don’t win, hopefully you will survive. Hopefully you will move forward and make the best of it and that’s all you can do.”

Regardless of the issues raised or political arguments presented, voters—both republicans and democrats—are looking to the comfort and protection of their own party. In fact, when the scenario of the opposing party in power is presented to them, the sense of comfort and protection afforded by their group is erased, and they are left with a dire view of America.

“When the election is over and the proverbial day-after depression sets in for those who lost, it’s not merely a case of sour grapes. There are real underlying emotional and psychological dynamics at work,” said Daryl Travis, CEO and founder of Brandtrust. “For many party loyalists, their greatest fear has come to pass, and life will remain in a precarious state of limbo for four years.”

What does this mean for voters, political campaigns and even marketing and PR executives? The research conducted by Brandtrust presents a side of voters that is often overlooked in communication platforms. Even voters with the greatest awareness of the issues are responding to deep, non-conscious mental models of themselves, their party and their candidate.

As Travis explains, “The ‘issues,’ in many cases, don’t help voters make their decisions; they help them rationalize the decision they’ve already made on an emotional level.” While shouting platform policies is a requirement for any election, the little things, like relating to and understanding the voter on a more psychological level, may really help win elections.

Helps explain the emotional reaction of some.

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