I’m just like him!

I ran a poll on the blog the other day on how to pick your candidate in the local election.  It received only a single vote – which makes me sad.  It is still open if you want to vote.  (Note you can choose multiple options from the list – those things you like the most.)

The question is still interesting to me.  Early in the election a friend asked a question on Facebook.  I’d like to pose the same one, but with a slight twist.

How much does a candidates or leaders resemblance to yourself impact your likeliness to vote for them?  Does it matter if they are from the same socioeconomic background as you?  A candidate that just ‘just another working stiff’ has an certain appeal.  But what about a rich, privileged snob?  Does not having that resemblance matter?

It applies across a variety of characteristics.  Are they the same sex as you?  Married/Single/Divorced?  Do they have kids?  Do they share the same religion?  Ethnicity?  Similar age?  Straight/Gay?

In one sense it shouldn’t matter.  I’ve got any number of friends who share many of these characteristics with me, but with whom my political views diverge dramatically.  Why then should sharing these characteristics with a candidate mean anything.

But it is naive to think it doesn’t matter.  Look at the hoopla with any FIRST elected candidate getting in (first woman, first non-Caucasian – over and over again for every ethnicity).  Danielle Smith was attacked for not having kids.  Allison Redford made a point in the debates of mentioning her family – kids and parents.  Entire political groups in many countries exist primarily on racial divides.

And while as a barometer it is lousy in its pin-point accuracy, there is likely some broad correlation on some shared values.

But how far is it from looking for those shared values to hitting on -isms.  Racism, Ageism, Homophobia… It doesn’t seem like it is a very small stretch at all.

Anyway news is on and there is hockey tonight.  Gotta go.


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