How do voters become informed about candidates, parties and issues?
How do they recognize main points of view and biases in material provided by political parties?
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Voters receive information in a variety of ways, including but not limited to newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and online sources. Political parties in the United States put out a vast amount of information in an effort to solicit support for their candidates. In these types of communications, the writers make an effort to make the material easy to read and comprehend by using bullet points and summaries. These techniques make it relatively simple for readers to digest the main points.
Recognizing biases in those materials is not as simple. Readers must have a discerning eye and be aware of buzzwords and slogans that are designed to arouse emotions in order to filter bias. Often biased information is presented as fact, so readers cannot simply assume that because what they have read in print is true just because it is in print.
Politics and political issues are always colored by biases on either side of the issue. First of all, you must define the issue. Then, you have to be informed through research. You have access to a variety of news information. There is television, radio, newspaper, and the Internet.
Two of my favorite ways of staying informed are the various news websites, and Congress.org which tells us exactly how the various representatives have voted on a particular bill or issue. It doesn't really matter too much what the poiticians say in their speeches. What really matters is the voting record.
Another way to stay informed about politicians and which way they may be leaning is to find out who funds their campaigns. I call this strategy "follow the money". Many politicians owe their contributors favors. One of the most famous political contributors was J.P. Morgan who contributed to the campaign of Theodore Roosevelt. He made the statement, "We bought him, but he wouldn't stay bought." about the president and his progressive policies.
As practiced in India, voters in India become informed about the candidates, parties and issues through the propaganda of voters, their parties and supporters.
This propaganda takes several forms such as public meetings, advertisements in newspapers and other publications, advertisements on TV and radio, hoardings and posters, door-to-door canvassing, and informal discussions in small groups.
In addition, independent bodies such as publications and TV, and public interest groups may also release information on various parties, candidates and issues. Sometimes such organization also organize debates between rival candidates and parties.
But perhaps the most important sources of voter information are the various sources independent of the information released for the purpose of elections. For example the state of a nation in terms of price levels is known to the people because they have to pay those prices. This kind of information is further supported by discussions among friends, relatives and colleagues.
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