Bandwagon Effect

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  • The term used to describe the social phenomenon of individuals favoring a popular trend merely because it is popular. The phrase originated in 1848, during Zachary Taylor's successful run for the presidency. During Taylor's campaign, Dan Rice, a popu lar clown of the era, invited Taylor to join his circus bandwagon. This brought Taylor such recognition from the townspeople that other political contenders also wanted to “jump on the bandwagon.” This phenomenon poses particular concern in contemporary politics; it is feared that surveys and voter exit polls sway voters toward favoring popular opinion and candidates instead of voting according to their true knowledge of the issues at hand.

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