Why do some people vote against their self-interest?

The BBC reports:

[It’s] striking that the people who most dislike the whole idea of healthcare reform [in the U. S.] – the ones who think it is socialist, godless, a step on the road to a police state – are often the ones it seems designed to help.

In Texas, where barely two-thirds of the population have full health insurance and over a fifth of all children have no cover at all, opposition to the legislation is currently running at 87%.

Instead, to many of those who lose out under the existing system, reform still seems like the ultimate betrayal.

Why are so many American voters enraged by attempts to change a horribly inefficient system that leaves them with premiums they often cannot afford?

Why are they manning the barricades to defend insurance companies that routinely deny claims and cancel policies..?

In his book The Political Brain, psychologist Drew Westen, an exasperated Democrat, tried to show why the Right often wins the argument even when the Left is confident that it has the facts on its side…

For Mr Westen, stories always trump statistics, which means the politician with the best stories is going to win: “One of the fallacies that politicians often have on the Left is that things are obvious, when they are not obvious…”


One response to “Why do some people vote against their self-interest?

  1. Nice article. For a more in-depth discussion of why people vote against their self interest, check out this article I co-authored with George Lakoff a while back:

    Why Voters Aren’t Motivated by a Laundry List of Positions on Issues


    Joe Brewer
    Founder and Director
    Cognitive Policy Works