Candidates who lie more likely to win elections, study finds

This should be of concern to all of us, given the low level of trust in politics.

"Politics is the art of lying about it," Voltaire said in his day. Since then, the confidence of the governed in the rulers (or those who would like to govern) has seriously fallen to an all-time low, to the point that the current model of our democracies has faltered. But while the public may be fed up with candidates who promise one thing before doing the reverse once in office, a new study relayed by The Independent suggests that honest politicians are less likely to win.

Researchers from the University of Bath, UK and Konstanz, Germany, show how voters benefit politicians who lie and flout their election promises, based on the results of an experiment involving 308 people . In this study, the researchers selected candidates who had to compete for their party's candidacy through a primary.

They asked the 'candidates' from the experiment how much they would invest in their campaign (on a scale of 100) to measure how eager they were to win the primary in terms of money, time or effort. that they would dedicate. Those who invested the most were most likely to advance to the second round, the study says. If they were chosen to run for office, politicians then had to choose how much money they would promise voters, to convince an undecided public. It could be promises on taxes or spending, for example. And if they were elected, they had to decide how to actually make the decisions, outside of the electoral race. That is, to choose whether or not to renege on their promises.

The findings of the study show that those most likely to pass the primary process, due to their high investment in the first stage, are those who broke their promises the most after the election. "Those who were most eager to be selected were also those who were most likely to deviate from what they promised," the study said.

“Our study highlights why it may not be too surprising to find campaigning candidates who are lying. This should be of concern to all of us given the low level of confidence in politics, says Dr Maik Schneider of the University of Bath. There is a clear paradox here in terms of the electorate. He says what is missing in politics is greater confidence, but the results show that those who lie more are even more likely to get into office. "

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