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Oh, puh-leeze. I'd be less inclined to dismiss this whole discussion as horseshit if it weren't so blatantly obvious that the overwhelming majority of males don't show the slightest sign of being "rational" voters either. There's a small segment of the electorate that pays attention and has at least something approaching a coherent political philosophy, and then there's the remaining majority, who vote for candidate A because they like his name, or perhaps because candidate B has a dumb haircut or said something that made him sound gay to them.

Posted by tsm | February 2, 2007 11:42 AM

"These days, all voters vote 'irrationally' – if such factors as personal appeal and character can be said to be irrational…


Truer words have yet to be spoken. I can see the interviews with Ma and Pa Cul-de-Sac in the supermarket parking lot now:

"I don't like ever-thing that Bush fella does, but I wouldn't mind having a beer with him."

Posted by Original Andrew | February 2, 2007 11:52 AM

Wait, are you telling me there weren't any dinosaurs on Noah's ark?

Posted by Mike in MO | February 2, 2007 12:00 PM

This is exactly why the founding fathers were not in favor of universal suffrage (male or female).

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | February 2, 2007 12:12 PM

Forgive me, but I think it would be rather irrational of voters to favor or disfavor Clinton because of her position on Iraq. There are far clearer (and by that I mean more meaningful) distinctions between the candidates on domestic issues.

Posted by annie | February 2, 2007 12:19 PM

The fact is that the vast majority of voters don't make decisions rationally.

This is a *great* (but depressing) article about what political scientists know about how people vote.

"Converse claimed that only around ten per cent of the public has what can be called, even generously, a political belief system....
"Non-ideologues may use terms like “liberal” and “conservative,” but Converse thought that they basically don’t know what they’re talking about, and that their beliefs are characterized by what he termed a lack of “constraint”: they can’t see how one opinion (that taxes should be lower, for example) logically ought to rule out other opinions (such as the belief that there should be more government programs)...
"In other words, about twice as many people have no political views as have a coherent political belief system."

Posted by Ben | February 2, 2007 12:23 PM

Women are generally poorer and busier than men. Mainstream news media is made by men for men. The news media mostly covers men. Who cares if 10% more women than men think Saddam caused 9/11? That's a question about whether a man was involved in a plot by men to kill mostly men, and whether a group of men in the federal government were justified in going to war with another group of men in another government.

I'm sure black people in the US would score lower than white people on questions of CNN's take on current events. Imagine a headline: "BLACK PEOPLE MAKE IRRATIONAL DECISIONS." It wouldn't be tolerated for a second. Heck, I'm sure gay men would score lower than heterosexual men on questions of current events. "GAY MEN ARE IRRATIONAL."

Why is it that women are the social group most denigrated by people in power?

Posted by jamier | February 2, 2007 2:38 PM

Personally, I've been of the opinion for some years that everyone should have to pass a basic civics exam before getting a voters' card. Naturalized citizens have to pass a pretty challenging test before they can vote the first time, but if you're born here, you can be dumber than a bag of hair and still cast a ballot every election cycle.

If you can't name the three branches of government and explain their functions, off to voter re-education camp with you!

Posted by Geni | February 2, 2007 3:11 PM


That is awesome, thank you.

Posted by Original Andrew | February 2, 2007 3:20 PM

"Who cares if 10% more women than men think Saddam caused 9/11? That's a question about whether a man was involved in a plot by men to kill mostly men"

You win Troll of the Day.

Posted by tsm | February 2, 2007 3:21 PM


That New Yorker article is the most insane, damning expose ever.

We are so fucked.

“Seventy per cent of Americans cannot name their senators or their congressman. Forty-nine per cent believe that the President has the power to suspend the Constitution.”

“The fraction of the electorate that responds to substantive political arguments is hugely outweighed by the fraction that responds to slogans, misinformation, “fire alarms” (sensational news), “October surprises” (last-minute sensational news), random personal associations, and “gotchas.”

“This helps make sense of the fact that the world’s greatest democracy has an electorate that continually “chooses” to transfer more and more wealth to a smaller and smaller fraction of itself.”

I repeat, fucked.

Posted by Original Andrew | February 2, 2007 3:43 PM

The article makes no claims about why women may act irrational, nor does it say that men act rational. It simply says that women on average act less rational than men, hence the 10% margin quoted above. Now that is statistically significant--assuming the study was done correctly--and it does raise some interesting questions, the foremost being: why?

Posted by Matt | February 3, 2007 12:55 AM

The Iraq war and the coming war with Iran are the defining issues or our lives. This country is destroying itself with deficits, the patriot act, not to mention the human costs on our soldiers. Seattle can not afford mass transit, gee why is that? Seattle can not find a cheap way to fix the viaduct, gee why is that? Because the feds care more about the War then our country, and fund accordingly. Clinton voted for this war. She does not deserve to be president. By the by, f...k Newsweek and Time and any other mainstream news media in this country, it is all Propaganda. Women are better off without.

Posted by Gary | February 4, 2007 4:55 AM

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