How Stressed-Out People Impact Election Results

Why aren’t more people showing up to vote in elections? Perhaps they’re too stressed out. Seriously: new research has found that citizens who are most prone to anxiety are more likely to skip the polls.

The study specifically looked at cortisol, a stress hormone in the human body. Head researcher Jeffrey French explained the significance: “Our study is unique in that it is the first to examine whether differences in physiology may be causally related to differences in political activity.”

Normally, cortisol increases in the body during stressful situations. However, certain individuals have naturally occurring heightened levels of cortisol, generally indicating that they are more anxious people overall. The research confirmed that people with higher base levels of cortisol had significantly spottier voting records than those with less present in their systems. Even after factoring in differences like party affiliation, age, income, ethnicity, etc., high levels of cortisol seemed to make a significant difference throughout these demographics.

While the researchers acknowledge that stress is hardly a major factor in determining whether someone will wind up voting, it still plays a measurable role. Besides, as they point out, given America’s consistently low voter turnouts, it’s important to discover all of the many reasons that people aren’t showing up at the polls so that they can be addressed.

It’s a shame that those who deal with more stress — either physiologically or through life circumstances like poverty — are dissuaded from hitting the polls. Their nonparticipation is somewhat shortsighted because having political leaders that will better represent their own interests could help to cut down on their anxiety and problems in the long run, but some people’s more pressing matters get in the way.

Political analysts worry that this information could only help to spread the practice of voter suppression. When people hear about efforts that could stop them from voting, the ensuing thoughts of stress is all it takes for some people to not even bother trying. In other words, just the suggestion of voter suppression might be enough to help keep down the vote.

Of course, efforts could be made to assist stressed out people to make it to the polls, as well. Realizing that registered voters might feel too anxious on a particular day to go vote, people can arrange rides to the polls or sign them up for vote-by-mail or absentee voting in advance in order to circumnavigate potential stress that may occur on Election Day.


Jim Ven
Jim Ven6 months ago

thanks for the article.

Mary B.
Mary B.2 years ago

The last time there was a higher than normal voter turnout, people stood in long lines, the polls closed before many had the chance. We deliberatly are not set up for for greater turnout and since this issue comes up every election there is no excuse for not making voting as easy as possible and many good solutions have been offered,but only a few have been implimented. Start with a whole week to vote with extended hours, more places to drop off ballets [like Ron spoke of].ALL of these things should have been put in place decades ago so the government needs to kick it into high gear now so those who want to vote can do so easily, and that will also encourage those who wouldn't vote to at least consider it.The problem is not getting out the vote, the problem is how easy can we make it to vote?

Mary A Leon
Mary A Leon2 years ago

I'm sorry people are so stressed, but this Midterm Election in November is too important to ignore.

This will be the LAST chance to vote OUT the DO NOTHING GOTP in the House and make sure they don't take over the Senate.

We HAVE to stick together, no matter how many Voter Suppression laws are in place and no matter how many House districts have been Gerrymandered in favor of the GOTP.

If we can get at least 5 MILLION more Independents and Progressives to vote, then the Gerrymandered districts won't matter--the Dems WILL win the House.The Senate can go either way, so Independents and Progressives need to come out and vote.

This will be the LAST chance President Obama will have to get anything done. If the GOTP wins the Senate and keeps the House then NOTHING will be done for another 2 years. Is this what our country wants and needs; another 2 years of bs from a Congress that is too scared to do anything the top 1% won't allow?

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper2 years ago


Val M.
Val M.2 years ago


Rhonda B.
Rhonda B.2 years ago


kathrynelizabet Etier

Maybe they are depressed because voting, or whoever's in office, doesn't seem to make much of a difference.

John chapman
John chapman2 years ago

If people care at all.

They better vote.

A lot of my votes don't count, but I know I've had my say.

Donnaa D.
donnaa d.2 years ago


Donnaa D.
donnaa d.2 years ago