Democrats, Republicans agree on something: anxiety | Teachers College Columbia University

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Democrats, Republicans agree on something: anxiety

Existential issues just under the surface in 2008 election

Voters around the United States, whether they support McCain or Barack Obama, say they are experiencing nail-biting, ulcer-inducing anxiety ahead of next week’s election and all that’s riding on it.

Elections generate so much stress because people vote out of a “very, very core place in their personalities,” says Lisa Miller, an associate professor of psychology and education at Columbia University Teachers College in New York.

“It has to do with their existential view of how the world works,” Miller says. “The fear is that a candidate who shares a different fundamental view of human nature is rattling.”

Plus, we project all of our hopes and fears onto a candidate to protect us and keep us safe, she says — so much so that the president becomes a “father figure.”

“It certainly makes sense that the uncertainty of a parental figure could be evocative,” she says.

The article was published on October 30, 2008 in the “Edmonton Sun”


Published Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008