American Idol: A lesson in the democratic process?

A panoply of “American Idol” viewers were apoplectic that Chris Daughtry was sent packing last night – and yet, therein lies the irony: Many of them didn’t vote at all, thinking the likably, folksy Daughtry was a shoo-in.

Indeed, that seems to be what doomed him. That’s how people vote in real-life politics, too.

Take for example, Jon A. Krosnick, professor of psychology and political science at Ohio State University.

Krosnick spend almost 25 years studying voter patterns. What did he find out? Disappointingly, if you want people to vote, you’ve got to give ’em a few candidates they truly hate.

As ABC‘s Lee Dye explained during last presidential election cycle,

“it turns out that we can’t stand either candidate, we’re not very likely to vote because either way, we lose, and the dismal choice turns us off. And if we like both candidates about the same, we’re also less likely to vote because either way, we win. So in order to have high voter turnout, we need a saint and a villain.”

If a nice guy like Daughtry were to have won, he would have needed a singing Omarosa to play his foil.