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Cost Benefit Analysis of Voting

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Cost Benefit Analysis of Voting

Brief Introduction

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            Political theorists and scholars observe that it is not only the right to suffrage, pertaining to freedom of choice in voting a candidate and relevance of partisanship, as the common denomination of voters during election. The contemporary voters reflect on the candidate’s capability and social influence, in which a “common sense” of voting is the first and foremost consideration of the voter.

The Cost Benefit Analysis or known as CBA procedure in voting suffices as the main factor in casting the vote.

Although in a sense, most of voters may be unaware that deducting or perceiving the “political popularity” of the candidate and understanding or interpreting the party platform is in fact part of the cost benefit analysis in voting. A voter initially evaluates the political party platform and upon which the “political tides” influences encouragement to the voters.

In the most recent US electoral process, the election results have indicated the result of less participative efforts of the younger voters than their elders.

Were the younger voters most likely less in partisanship? This basic question on the exit poll results will be discussed and examined in this paper, relating the theories on cost benefit analysis in voting.

What is CBA?

            In layman’s definition and in the perspective of a voter, cost benefit analysis is a procedural understanding the achievability of a plan for change by determining the resources or workable and beneficial means, wherein could be interpreted as referring to the capability, sincerity and potentialities of a candidate or its platform of government that may provide or fulfill economic and political change. From this perspective, partisanship could be predicted or perceived, relating the young and old voting decisions.

Context of CBA in voting

            The vanishing voter

In Thomas E. Patterson’s (2003) book entitled:  ‘The Vanishing Voter’, he emphasized that most of the voters vanishes their recalling of vital issues attributed or needed in the decision for voting. According to Patterson, the absence or lack of coherence in “weighing the scale” of a candidate’s agenda for the public good seems to vanish from the “vital understanding” of the voter. As cited, the incoherent voting behavior set forth a downturn of a sensitive electoral involvement in the processes of election, wherein indicating the weakness of democratic participation (Patterson, 2003).

It may be interpreted that what Patterson reflect on is the democratic processes of strong participative efforts of voters on significant issues, having the election period as a venue that pre-cursor to change. In many other cases of an election scenario, voters may tend to go along with the “wavelength” of partisanship. Of which bias or prejudice extends only to the political leanings of the voter. Patterson cited that this kind of election scenario [on the voting behavior] make obvious that the character of election processes signify helplessness of voters and being disjointed from the vital issues, deviating the consistent democratic power and decision in voting. It points out that partisanship primarily influences the voting behavior, wherein consistent and coherent voters vanish.

            Disappearance of social capital

Robert D. Putnam’s journal, entitled: ‘Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social Capital in America’ published by the American Political Science Association in 1995, discusses the strange disappearance of social capital. Putnam defined “social capital” as the close interaction of people in the community. The close interaction is determined by the “social life networking” that creates the common understanding, participation or involvement in the sharing of visions and setting of goals.

Putnam cited that it may not only the contemporary technologies, like the Television and the Internet, as the “main frames” of sharing information and opinion effective to social actions. Based on Putnam’s interpretation on the social life as the “capital” that sets out the participative and sensible community groups, the emergence of new technologies is lacking the necessary “illustrative facts and figures” particularly in tackling community issues and concern pertaining to socio-political life. To cite, social capital creates social connections beneficial to affect a wider individual and public trust (Putnam, 1995).

In which case, the shortage of “getting together” in a more objective, illustrative and determined social interaction as a result of technological interactions [like sharing of information through the Television and the Internet] empirically denotes the disappearance of social capital in a community. Putnam’s analysis attributes to the sensibility of behavior in understanding the needs, change and development in a community and the society, which may also refer to the decline of interlocking social attitude of voters.

As quoted, “it may be deduced that emerging technological trend anticipates and promotes individualism that make it difficult to rule and put in order a rational society” (Putnam, 1995). Putnam’s analysis acknowledges the societal condition that technologies is one of the factors of incoherent and insensible social interactions in a community, disappearing social capital as a result of privatize individual lives.

Logic of American politics

The work of Samuel Kernell and Gary C. Jacobson, ‘The Logic of American Politics’ (1999), summarizes the American political system, the processes of governance, structure of government and the constitutional role of its citizens. The “catch” in Kernell and Jacobson logical analyses emphasizes the patterns for change, relating the collective problem-solving and actions of the govern people and the state.

Kernell and Jacobson pointed out that it was since the logical nature of American politics has been bestowed by the need to emancipate the common American lives in today’s strategic achievement of economic and political development. To cite, the logical rationale of political system is to organize disagreements and disbelief in a society, wherein people must be governed by the framers of the constitution for the public good (Kernell & Jacobson, 1999). In summary, the logic of American politics is based on the constitutional rights of the people and their civic duties to participate in the political system in order to sustain the continuity for change.

Findings and conclusion

            The works of Patterson, Putnam, Kernell and Jacobson relates how strong partisanship can be achieved, reflective of an election process that must be enjoined by all sectors of the society, having the election as opportune time to invoke the right to suffrage and create the venue for change. In which case, as indicated by the shortage of young voter’s participation, it could be analyzed that furtherance of partisanship mobilization is still needed to consistently inculcate the values, awareness and consensus of the young voters.

On the other hand, it may be also the traditional partisanship from families to communities that seems to weaken during the electoral process, having been emphasized by Putnam (1995) as part of the social capital to draw the sharing of vision and objectives. Thus, the coherence of young generations towards social change and development must be sustained (Patterson, 2003), aside from the constitutional and civic duty (Kernell & Jacobson, 1999). From the “multiculturalists” point of political views, the diversity of culture could have challenged the voting decisions for a Black American presidential candidate. It may be concluded that amidst the indicated lack of partisanship of the young voters, the totality of the recent US election have still drawn the popular partisanship, advancing a remarkable change and benefits for every generation of American family, and reaching out the global population.


Patterson, T. E. (2003). ‘The Vanishing Voter’. Random House Incorporated.

ISBN: 978-0-375-71379-8 (0-375-71379-4). Retrieved 14 November 2008.

Putnam, R. D. (1995). ‘Tuning In, Tuning Out: The Strange Disappearance of Social

            Capital in America’. American Political Science Association, Political Science and

            Politics, Vol. 28, No. 4, pp. 664-683. JSTOR Publication. Retrieved 14 November

            2008 from http://www.jstor.org/stable/420517.

Kernell, S. and Jacobson, G. C. (1999). ‘The Logic of American Politics’.

CQ Press (2008). Retrieved 14 November 2008 from


Cite this Cost Benefit Analysis of Voting

Cost Benefit Analysis of Voting. (2016, Aug 15). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/cost-benefit-analysis-of-voting/

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