Partisans Don’t Know How the Middle Feels

October 11, 2012 BY danariely

Ten minutes into the Presidential debate, my democratic friends were sure it was a failure. They tweeted, “Nothing he is saying is making me feel anything.”

A lot of Democrats have walked away from Romney’s monologues unaware of how moving Romney’s comments can be. They have felt absolutely secure that an Obama victory is in the bag. They have assumed that because they did have not found Romney’s words exciting, no one else would either.

However, Democrats were never going to feel excited by a Romney-Ryan speech. And if these Democrats gauge Romney-Ryan’s success by their own feelings, they’ll never understand how well the Romney-Ryan is doing with the electorate. Yet, people consistently make this mistake and predict that others’ reactions will be the same as theirs. When people do this, it leads them, their businesses, and their political parties to be overconfident about their lead in the market place

This inability to predict how different people will react can be costly for individuals, political strategists, and businesses. Should an Apple product designer predict the success of a Microsoft product based on how unimpressed she herself is? No. Should a bleeding heart liberal use her own outrage about Romney’s 47% comment as an estimate of how Republicans will react? No. Should a social conservative use his feelings about President Obama’s comment about Americans clinging to God and guns? No.

With the vice-presidential debates happening tonight, I am confident that partisans on both sides will think that the other failed to emotionally connect with the electorate. The truth however is that partisans cannot emotionally connect with each other.

~Troy Campbell~