Voters are more likely to present at the polls when they have strong feelings such as disgust or hate toward a particular candidate. These “negative” emotions are more likely to increase voter turn-out at the polls (in politics, student government, bake-offs, etc.) compared to “positive” or favorable emotions toward the opposing candidate.

Why? The threat of losing something is more motivating than the opportunity to gain something. If voters believe that the strongly negatively viewed candidate will result in a personal loss, they will be more motivated to vote against that candidate – even if their favored candidate has a weak platform or weak promises.

The effect is even more pronounced when there appear to be clear divides in the “good vs. bad”. When a race for elected position offers a clear “good” candidate and a clear “bad” candidate, that election can be predicted to attract significantly higher numbers of voters than if there were either two “good” or two “bad” candidates.

If you are considering running for an elected position or want to increase your ability to influence others, leverage the scientific power of political psychology. Learn what makes voters vote. Learn how what you are doing, saying, or showing is either repelling or attracting votes.


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