By Paul Goodman
They don't, of course - at least, not usually.
But they would have done, had the budget been presented by, say, Ed Balls, and the Government been led by Gordon Brown rather than David Cameron.
That, at least, is the suggestion of a compelling piece on the blog of www.neurosciencemarketing.com, called Why Politics is Hard, twittered out by an "eternal student" called Anibal Astobiza, and re-twittered out by Stephan Shakespeare under the more punchy title "How political party identification can turn us into idiots".
The piece describes how a social psychologist took -
"...two groups of subjects, one composed of liberal Democrats, the other of conservative Republicans. Then, he showed them very different proposals on the topic of welfare. One policy proposal was very liberal, and involved large expenditures of tax money. The other was harshly conservative, and proposed far lower levels of assistance and expense. As you might expect, the liberal subjects preferred the free-spending plan while the conservatives liked the restrictive plan.
Here’s the bizarre twist: when the subjects were told that the plan they didn’t like had been proposed by their own party, their attitudes changed and they favored the plan they had initially opposed. Liberals thought that cracking down on welfare was a good idea, while conservatives found they could justify opening the coffers for this important social purpose. They even wrote essays explaining why the policy they now favored was appropriate.
And, as Neuromarketing readers could anticipate, the subjects were unaware of this influence. They did think that other people were influenced by party beliefs, but considered their own decision-making to be rational and not tainted by politics.
This is another example of why getting votes from opposing party members is so difficult. One’s political affiliation can trump everything, including logic and common sense".