A new study with a long, formal, academic title basically says that American voters are too dumb or ignorant to know what's good for them. "Sources of Bias in Retrospective Decision Making: Experimental Evidence on Voters' Limitation in Controlling Incumbents," casts doubt on the average voters' ability to accurately judge how well elected officials are doing their jobs.
For their American Political Science Review study, researchers Gregory A. Huber (Yale), Seth J. Hill (University of California, San Diego), and Gabriel S. Lenz (University of California, Berkeley), asked around 4,000 citizens to play a series of games assessing the performance of fictional politicians.
As voters played, they experienced changes in their earnings - including whether they won or lost in a lottery. The players' earnings were the only accurate information they had about their incumbent politician's performance. But other factors still affected the players, particularly whether or not they won the lottery.
Most worrisome, from the academics' point of view, this "irrational" behavior continued "even when it was made clear to them that their fictional incumbent had had nothing to do with the lottery."
Via American Political Science Review