by Seth Eisenberg and Rachel Schindler
A survey on the influence of family and happiness on voting decisions revealed that while voters may be unhappy with politicians, when it comes to their own lives, more than 65 percent are happy more often than not. Nearly 70 percent said they were as or more interested in the 2010 midterms as they were in the 2008 Presidential Election.
PAIRS Foundation, a South Florida nonprofit, surveyed 8,787 adults on Election Day to consider the impact of family conversations, happiness, and voting decisions. Eighty three percent of the 201 respondents whose responses were analyzed for this report were married or in a committed relationship.
The results showed families typically agree on the candidates they like. More than 85 percent said they fully or most often agreed with other family members on voting decisions.
More than two thirds said they talked about the elections regularly at home with 30 percent reporting they talked about the campaigns nearly every day.
Of those who talked about the elections most frequently, 93 percent either completely or most often agreed with family members about voting decisions with 92 percent reporting that they cast ballots. Nearly half of that group, 47 percent, voted early.
Eighty six percent of those who spoke frequently about the elections said other members of their household also voted.
The survey results also reveal that those who talked about the campaigns most often were generally happy, with 68 percent saying they were very happy or happy most of the time over the most recent two months. Just 17 percent of those who talked about the campaigns regularly with family members said they were often unhappy.
Participant comments revealed alternative views on the impact of political commercials and the importance of the midterm election.
“The political ads caused us to talk further about what we deemed to be right and what appeared to be wrong with the ad, the candidates, and circumstances of the world.”
“I did not enjoy speaking about the mainly bashing type election advertisements. I find it terrible that we must vote for such negative candidates.”
“Those dreadful ads! I wish there were a law forbidding those types of ads. We need commercials that are more to the point where they will say something I want to know: what, where, when, and how they will do it in simple words.”
About voting decisions:
“I was a strong supporter of the President and find this year’s campaigns painful!”
“This election doesn’t seem as critical. However, I think the media shares that estimation. So, there has been less coverage, which helps impress upon me that the midterm isn’t as important.”
Surveys were sent electronically to 8,787 individual recipients on Election Day. Participants were asked to select single responses to multiple choices offered for 10 questions. This report is based on an analysis of completed surveys received from 201 eligible voters.
For further information on the Families and Elections Survey, contact Seth Eisenberg or Rachel Schindler at (954) 703-4533 or by e-mail.