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Senior Contributor

How do voters select

when they don't like either candidate.

A look at the psychology that goes into the selection.



Behavioral scientists have studied decision-making – including voting – for decades. However, researchers usually give respondents at least one appealing option to choose from.

This led us to wonder: What do voters do when they consider all of the options bad? Do they fall back on party affiliation, or simply toss a coin? This question is especially appropriate in the current presidential election because the two front runners have the lowest favorability ratings ever.

When we did research to answer this question, we learned that in situations where all of the choices are bad, people tend to vote by rejecting the choices they didn’t like, rather than by affirmatively choosing the one they disliked least.

1 Reply
Senior Advisor

Re: How do voters select

Interesting article -- My guess would also be that it would be harder for a candidate to overcome being the rejected choice, as opposed to being able to overcome being the candidate disliked the most.  Many have totally rejected one candidate or the other, and that choice of rejection is unlikely to change.