Thursday, March 27, 2008

Conversations on Polls and Independent Voters

There a lot of talk in the media about independent voters going for McCain and/or Obama but I notice that the statements have become very generalized. From my perspective there are real independent voters out here who have real attitudes towards all the candidates AND who are also anti-party. I think some of the analysis misses this element, namely, that independents are making decisions about who they might support based on how independent of either party or the collective partisan system they think the candidate might be.

But on the other hand, be afraid if they get more specific: Today Pew Research released a poll that had asked pollees "If Obama is the Nominee, Will the Fact that He is African American: 1) Help him, 2) Hurt him, 3) no effect." The poll shows some detail in terms of partisan, race and gender breakdown.

Under the heading "Obama Viewed More Positively Among Democratic Voters" Pew says: "Fully 82% of black Democratic and Democratic-leaning independent voters say Obama has made them feel proud, but just over half of white Democrats (53%) express this view."

Huh? Is this apples and oranges, or is it butter?

Here's a list of the terms the pollee is asked to respond to, presumably the pollee is being asked how they respond to the candidate. Are they:

Down-to-earth
Inspiring
Honest
Patriotic
Phony
Hard-to-like
Hopeful
Proud
Uneasy

Could we add the word "Independent" to that list?

Or, better yet, ask the pollee "How independent do you feel the candidate is? 1) Will do whatever the Party says to do, 2) Will try to do what the American people want to do, 3) No clue
-NH

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