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Pollies are learning our lingo

Published 23 May 2016

In this article, published in The Mercury, Tasmanian School of Business and Economics Associate Professor of Marketing, Martin Grimmer, uses marketing's understanding of brand loyalty to look at why we vote the way we do. DON'T think of an elephant – that's the exhortation with which American linguist George Lakoff begins his classes each year.Lakoff knows the first thing his students will do in response is to think of an elephant. The lesson is that in politics, as in life, words come preloaded. The politician able to set the parameters of debate – to choose what we will talk about – is ahead of the game.It works because politics is emotional. Most voters do not sit at home with a carefully honed policy abacus on which they weigh up competing political plans before deciding how to vote. Most rely on something more visceral: an innate understanding of the brand of each party that determines where their loyalty lies. And those brands can be very resistant to evidence.For example, under the Abbott-Turnbull Coalition government, government debt and the budget deficit have worsened significantly from the levels Abbott labelled a budget emergency when he came into office. Under the Gillard Labor government, single parents were pushed off parenting payments and on to Newstart, resulting in significant cuts to some of the nation's poorest families.Yet almost every poll for decades shows people trust the Liberals more on the economy and Labor more on welfare. Are we not paying attention?Read the full article here: