Fortunately in this country, we can vote without fear of being shot for selecting the wrong candidate. However it’s still possible to vote in fear. Do you vote for something, or against something else? I get the impression that many people vote based on a fear of the “other team” winning more than on supporting their own team. They’re afraid that if the other party wins, everything is going to ruin. Many of us dislike negative campaign ads. But their ubiquitousness would certainly suggest that most people vote out of fear. Their basic message is, “Vote for me so that the bad guy or gal doesn’t win.”
I’ve heard people say that they like a third party or third party candidate, but don’t want to “waste” their vote. So instead of voting for whom they really like, they vote for the “lesser of two evils”. The only way I see voting for a third candidate as wasting a vote, is if you’re afraid that doing so will allow the “greater of two evils” to win. Many people aren’t happy with what we have, but are more afraid of it getting worse to the point that they won’t support trying to make it better. Even though third parties don’t often win, I don’t consider votes for them wasted. The more votes they receive, the more it shows that they have support. So for example, if more people vote for Ron Paul, the media then may finally have to treat him as a more serious candidate in the future.