But whatever heuristic you choose, actually make that assessment, actually make that choice. Don’t think like a pundit, trying to feel the rumble of the zeitgeist and jump on a bandwagon before everyone knows it’s rolling. Even — especially — if you fancy yourself a high-information voter, think instead like a citizen, someone with both the right and the responsibility to choose the most powerful individual on the planet, and then pick the person you believe to be best for the job.
The simplest reason to support the candidate you actually want to win is this: If everybody did that, the candidate most people want actually would win. By contrast, if everyone tries to guess what their neighbors are thinking, the outcome reflects the public’s views only to the degree that people are good at guessing. Your neighbor would be voting her guess of your preferences, and you’d be voting your guess of hers. Wouldn’t it be simpler and better to vote for yourself?
Thinking like a pundit doesn’t just alienate you from your own feelings and assessments. It also alienates you from those very neighbors whose minds you try to read.