When it comes to politics, particularly pre-election politics, I do my best to avoid the conversations and controversy. The fact is, during this most recent election, I made my voting decision at the last minute. For me, it was between two parties. I knew the Conservatives would win, but did I want to vote them in? And as time went on I learned that I wasn’t really in agreement with some of their policies and the lack of responses to questions left unanswered on issues that are important to me.
But after the fact I can say, here’s the thing. Most of my friends and social media colleagues are well read. They pay attention to the issues. They take a stand and stick to it. But I don’t believe the majority of those who vote actually vote based on issues. In fact, I think there are many who vote based on their feelings; that inner voice that says “Not him, go with him.”
In a recent article, by media columnist Warren Kinsella, http://ht.ly/4Mkps * he talks about the HOAG theory, an acronym he says stands for “Hell Of A Guy,” and a theory, says Kinsella, that will often lead voters to vote for the candidate who “emotes” the strongest “HOAGism.”
In this election, Kinsella says NDP canadidate, Jack Layton, rose in the polls because he “is the most likeable leader.” He goes on to say that he personally has worked with Liberal party leader Michael Ignatieff, “and can attest to the fact that – in person – he is a thoughtful, easy-going, impressive guy. But that quality doesn’t come across on TV. On the big flat-screen the Liberal leader doesn’t emote HOAGism. It’s not fair. It’s not accurate, but it’s a fact.”
I’m not saying all voters are shallow. And I don’t consider myself to be uninformed. But, at the end of the day, what draws me to a party is both their platform and the charisma of the leader. Is S/He someone I believe will make good on their promises after they’re elected? Do they come across as sincere? If the answer is “I’m not sure,” then it’s likely I won’t throw my vote in their direction.
And then there are those who may not care about the platforms and platitudes but just go with their instincts, right or wrong. For example, I was born in Canada, but I grew up in the U.S. of A. I remember my great aunt said she wouldn’t vote for Richard Nixon because she didn’t like his nose. Turns out my great aunt’s instincts were right. Who would have known?
*Note: this link may not work by the time you read this, as newspapers often only post the articles online for a limited time period.