Quotes from the book:

The Political Brain is a must-read for strategic communicators. Here are a few highlights to whet your appetite:

  • “The political brain is an emotional brain. It is not a dispassionate calculating machine, objectively searching for the right facts, figures, and policies to make a reasoned decision. The partisans in our study were, on average, bright, educated, and politically aware. And yet they thought with their guts.”
  • “It is no accident that the words motivation and emotion share the same Latin root, movere, which means to move.”
  • “Reason is not irrelevant to peoples’ decisions; nor is a candidate’s stance on the issues. But the “issues” that dominate elections tend to boil down to voters’ interests (“is this good for me and my family?”) and their values (“is this something I think is right?”). Successful election campaigns activate emotions latent in both.”
  • “In politics, when reason and emotions collide, emotion invariably wins. Although the marketplace of ideas is a great place to shop for policies, the marketplace that matters most in American politics is the marketplace of emotions.”
  • “What tends to “drive” people are their wishes, fears, and values. And emotion is central to all three.”
  • “Gut feelings are about three times as powerful as more “rationally” derived preferences in predicting electoral choices. And when voters’ reasoning circuits pull them in different directions from their emotion circuits (as occurred in voters who had a visceral preference for Reagan but could generate more reason to prefer Carter), about 80 percent of the time, they vote with their gut.”

Back to Flaschard page: Sightline’s Gut-Check Guide…

March 13, 2008