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The Hill: The Role (Un)happiness Plays in How People Vote

Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, Lyle Ungar, and Johannes Eichstaedt and George Ward are an interdisciplinary group of social and behavioral scientists who study “subjective wellbeing”—the technical term for people’s happiness. They suspected that subjective wellbeing may be the reason behind certain election outcomes, such as the one in 2016. Based on a study, they discovered the overall happiness or unhappiness of a county’s population was an abnormally strong predictor of how it voted in 2016 compared with a typical election. The level of happiness explained even more of the outcome than the usual suspects, such as a county’s income, employment rate, demographics, and religious and racial composition. Unhappy people typically vote against the sitting government, whereas the anti-system candidates are adept at converting unhappiness into votes. Read more on The Hill.

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