Whom to Vote? Socio-psychological Factors Influencing Voting Behavior in Rural Punjab, Pakistan
Voting is the most common and effective way of political participation across the globe. Voting substantiates voters’ will and decides the fate of the country. Voting signifies that voters are informed and responsible citizens and showing their interest in state and its matters. It is, however a very complex phenomenon. Different social, economic, institutional, political, situational, and personal factors are considered essential to elaborate voting behavior. The present research includes these factors to find out which factor/s explains the best in rural areas of the Punjab, Pakistan. For this research 241 voters were recruited from a rural constituency of district Jhang. Linear regression analysis was run for the analysis. Findings bring forth that Baradri (caste group) explains 72 % variation in voting behavior followed by the influence of the family i.e. 20%. Personality attributes, religious affiliation (sect), political campaign, and peer suggestions were somehow significant factors. However, sympathy with and experience of the candidate in politics were not statistically significant in this research. The study confirms that being a traditional society, caste group affiliation is more powerful in deciding whom to vote than other factors. Voters feel pressurized by their caste groups and respective families while deciding their votes.