What Would You Pay?

Anthony Fowler and Ryan D. Enos asked Americans to pretend they could buy a congressional seat for their preferred party:

In a recent YouGov survey, we gave respondents a hypothetical scenario. “Suppose that you alone could determine whether a Democrat or a Republican represents your Congressional district by paying a specific dollar amount? How much would you be willing to pay to ensure that a Congressman from your preferred party will win the office?” We expected that most Americans would place a high value on the party of their Congressmen. Shockingly, 55% of respondents said “ZERO” -- they would not pay even $1 to place their preferred party in power.

The lesson they draw:

[W]e have little evidence that Americans care about politics. They often say that they are interested in politics but they won’t put their money where the mouth is – even hypothetical money. 

The second paragraph doesn't follow first. One can care deeply about politics and still be unwilling to pay for an electoral outcome on the grounds that it would undermine democracy. 

2006-2011 archives for The Daily Dish, featuring Andrew Sullivan

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