Graphics by Abbie Uy

Have you participated in an election? If so, who did you vote for? What pivotal moment turned the mental cogs in your mind to decide, “This person is the best candidate”? Have you ever sat down and questioned why other people agree or disagree with your choice? Given the looming presence of the upcoming elections, it’s possible that some of us have wondered why we (and other people) choose the candidates we support.

With all the campaign material, advertisements, and polls about the different political candidates floating around, the inevitable divide amongst voters and candidate preferences becomes more prominent. This unavoidable phenomenon blurs the line between educating fellow citizens and forcing our opinions upon them. However, instead of projecting our ideas onto others, it is imperative to put ourselves in their shoes and view things from a different perspective. To understand why we, as voters, have different opinions, here are a few factors that contribute to a voter’s behavior:

Regardless of age, it is evident that the current candidates have poured their efforts into their campaigning strategies. Every news outlet, billboard, and social media feed is filled with pictures of candidates these days that it’s become nearly impossible to avoid. According to Jamaica Gleaner of PressReader, these tactics affect voters’ decisions, because when voters are constantly exposed to specific candidates, they may lean towards whichever candidate seems more appealing to them. Many analysts also highlighted this factor in this article published under ABS-CBN. They discuss how word of mouth, social media, and bandwagon are three key factors that are the three main decision points of the current voters. Beware of the bandwagon, Titans! High numbers don’t always make the candidate.

The same article by Gleaner also mentions that a voter’s age will play a vital role in voting behavior. Different generations may or may not share different sentiments towards a candidate. Pew Research is one of the many research institutions that studied the link between different age groups and voting behavior. One of their polls regarding this factor suggests that political ideologies are mostly split amongst the generations. If you put two and two together, potential voters will likely side with the parties that share the same views as them.

When a candidate shares the same advocacy as a voter, the chances are that he/she will become more appealing to the voter. In the same sense, when candidates can identify and empathize with people, they are more likely to garner their vote. As mentioned in a study by Nelia Ereno and Jessa Langoyan, past elections have shown that voters have the tendency to vote for those with a good platform and performance. They used the turn-out of the 2016 elections of the Cebuanos as an example; In their words, “In the 2016 election, most of the UNA and LP leaders and supporters turned their backs on their party’s presidential bet to favor Rodrigo [Duterte] of the PDP-Laban Party.” Due to Duterte’s persuasive nature, many Cebuano voters swerved and changed their decisions. Of course, this could be the same for yourself and those around you.

Of course, the people we surround ourselves with could explain why we root for a particular candidate. A study conducted by Arne Baruca from The University of Texas-Pan suggests that because the voting process is usually influenced by interactions with family, friends, and coworkers, potential voters may rely on the information they exchange. Even more so in the age of technology (where online communities thrive), it has become a lot easier to influence and encourage potential voters towards a candidate. Make sure you think twice and ask yourself whether you’re voting for a person in candidacy because of your friend or if you genuinely believe in your decision.

To all the voters out there, let us not be swayed by the bandwagon and other external factors. Instead, let us practice our civic duties properly by doing research—even if it is taxing. We must remember that we are doing this not just for ourselves but for the betterment of the country. Vote wisely, Titans!

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