Definition - What does Retrospective Voting mean?
Retrospective voting is a vote that is cast only after consideration is given to various factors that then act to influence the decision. It means to vote in retrospect, rather than simply for one political party or the other. Retrospective voting assumes that the voter cares more about individual factors than any overall party preference.
There are two basic types of retrospective voting. One is based on an evaluation of a candidate's experiences relating to finances, work record or civil rights. This is a simple retrospective evaluation. The other one is based on a mediated retrospective evaluation, which is reliant on an intermediary. The latter type can be when a person votes the same way that their spouse votes by virtue of the fact that their spouse votes that way.
Justipedia explains Retrospective Voting
Legally speaking, there are no laws that ban retrospective voting. A person is able to vote in whichever way they choose for whatever reasons they determine that are important to them.
In order to sway an election, politicians will attempt to figure out why people vote the way they do and how many people are expected to vote due to those reasons. After making that determination, the politician's election party will work to address those concerns in order to bring voters to their side. It is normally the case that the subjects that politicians have addressed as being important enough to sway votes are the points on which the individual candidates will argue about, as competing politicians will believe that their opponents are only saying that they hold specific beliefs or will undertake specific actions because they think it is what people want to hear.
There have been many studies by academics on the issue of retrospective voting in order to see why certain things bother people more than others do in terms of why they choose to not vote for a particular candidate. The main consensus is that the basis for retrospective voting is either financially/economically based, or due to family voting records. It has been seen many times in reports issued by academics studying this issue that people of a particular political persuasion will choose that party due to it being the party that their parents were members of.
Studies are undertaken so that future political candidates gain an advantage in understanding their target market. Governments will also use these analyses to "lessen the blow" when delivering unpopular announcements, such as the advent of new or higher taxes.