« But the extent of the differences in perceptions between Democrats and Republicans has increased in the past thirty years, according to the research of Joseph Bafumi in his Ph.D. thesis on “the stubborn American voter.” He found that voters are less willing to vote based on past performance but more willing to offer evaluations that, even if inaccurate, fit their partisan predispositions and vote choices.
A good example comes from the research of Larry Bartels. He analyzed a 1988 survey that asked “Would you say that compared to 1980, inflation has gotten better, stayed about the same, or gotten worse?” Amazingly, over half of the self-identified strong Democrats in the survey said that inflation had gotten worse and only 8% thought it had gotten much better, even though the actual inflation rate dropped from 13% to 4% during Reagan’s eight years in office. Republicans were similarly biased about the Clinton-era economy: in 1996, a majority of Republicans thought that the budget deficit had increased. This partisan filter was also evident after the Democrats’ retaking of Congress in 2006. Research by Alan Gerber and Greg Huber shows that Democrats became much more optimistic, and Republicans more pessimistic, about the national economy«
On savait que les électeurs sont affectés par une série de biais concernant les questions économiques (voir l’ouvrage de Bryan Caplan). Mais la dimension partisane semble encore aggraver ces biais, jusqu’à la manière dont les individus évaluent la situation économique présente :
« Could such biases be a product of the relatively mild economic conditions of the past twenty years? Early returns from 2008 and 2009 suggest that partisan biases still operate. According to Gallup Poll data from just before the November election, 20% of Republicans and 8% of Democrats were “satisfied with the way things were going in the United States.” Immediately after Obama’s inauguration, the parties flipflopped: 18% of Democrats and 14% of Republicans expressed satisfaction. That gap has only grown. In February polls, 20% of Democrats but only 10% of Republicans expressed satisfaction ».
Bref, quand il s’agit de porter un jugement sur les questions économiques, le citoyen semble complétement être aveuglé par ses croyances politiques et idéologiques. La question qui se pose est de savoir si un enseignement économique de qualité généralisé à l’ensemble de la population pourrait corriger ces biais. Malheureusement, probablement pas. L’électeur est définitivement non rationnel…