Thursday, October 28, 2004

The uninformed

Seattle Times columnist Joni Balter is bullish on Republican gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi, for reasons she outlines in today's column. She's an unabashed supporter of both Kerry and Rossi's opponent Christine Gregoire, but she believes that a desire to split the ticket gives Rossi a chance to become the first Republican governor in Washington since 1984. She also notes Kerry's "secret weapon"—newly registered voters— who break strongly for John Kerry.

What caught my eye, however, was this rather distressing statement:

With that kind of activity in King County, it is not too big a leap to say many of these people are young, Democratic and fiercely anti-war. At least that was my experience at Tuesday's Democracy Fest at the University of Washington, co-sponsored by The Seattle Times editorial page. A half-dozen voters I approached were for Kerry. And the three who were tracking the governor's race were for Gregoire.

(emphasis added)

It's admittedly a very small sample, but Balter is saying that half of the people to whom she spoke were not following the governor's race. It is unlikely that this ignorance will stop them from selecting a candidate, however. It's disturbing that a significant chunk of the electorate is not even following who the candidates are, or why one should vote for one candidate over the other. (I voted for Rossi for a multitude of reasons, most of which have been discussed at great length at Sound Politics). It's one of the reasons why I dislike many of these voter-registration drives, as they facilitate voting for people who are too uninformed to vote effectively. I'd rather someone vote for a candidate I oppose if it is because they agree with his or her positions, than to vote for a candidate whom I support without knowing where the person stands. The people who are caught by late-campaign voter registration drives are the ones who could not be bothered to register at any other time, and are the ones who are least likely to have the inclination to do anything resembling researching the candidates. Most likely, their only knowledge of the candidates will be from the incessant ads infesting the airwaves, many of which are outright lies or blatant distortions, and have been rebutted by the various campaigns elsewhere. If the election is close (and I fully expect it will), realize that the apathetic, the uninformed, and the ignorant may well have provided the margin of victory.

posted at 04:33 PM | permalink | Comments (1)

Best Poll for undecided Voters;

Since 1956, Weekly Reader students in grades 1-12 have correctly picked the president

Weekly Reader kids select Bush in Presidential Poll

The students who read Weekly Readerís magazines have made their preference for President known: they want to send President Bush back to the White House.

The results of this yearís Weekly Reader poll have just been announced, and the winner is President Bush. Hundreds of thousands of students participated, giving the Republican President more than 60% of the votes cast and making him a decisive choice over Democratic Senator John Kerry.

Since 1956, Weekly Reader students in grades 1-12 have correctly picked the president, making the Weekly Reader poll one of the most accurate predictors of presidential outcomes in history.

posted by poll troll on November 2, 2004 10:41 AM

Monday, October 25, 2004

Double Standards in the Twin Cities

While skimming a few of the blogs on the list to the right, I ran across a post at Power Line about their ongoing love-in with Star-Tribune columnist Nick Coleman, and their disagreements with him over Mark Dayton's suitability for office. There was a line pulled from Coleman's latest snivel column that caught my eye:

The scion of a wealthy department-store family, Dayton sometimes seems wide-eyed, has a stiff, formal manner and sometimes stumbles over his syntax - making him a popular target for right-wing hatchet bloggers and operatives.

Hmmm, comes from a wealthy family, ocassionally odd mannerisms, a bit inarticulate, and often ruthlessly attacked by his opponents? Sounds like someone else I know.

Although I am not going to go through all of Coleman's previous columns, I wonder if he has commented on Bush with the same kid-glove treatment he gave Dayton. The Power Line guys refer to Coleman as a reliably partisan hack, so my money would be on a double standard. Anyone who has read all of Coleman's output and would like to comment is more than welcome to share with the rest of us.

Of course, dealing with double standards is nothing new. They have come into play in such topics as Sexual Harrassment (David Wu vs. Bob Packwood), Resume Padding (John Kerry vs. George W. Bush), Malfeasance in Office (Bill Clinton vs. Richard Nixon), Dereliction of Duty (Janet Reno vs. Donald Rumsfeld) and a host of other issues. However, they're only worthy of saturation coverage if the politician has an (R) after his name.

posted at 08:02 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

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