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Poll: Democrats Favored Is Misunderstood

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Donna Cassata of the AP, recently wrote about a new Associated Press-Ipsos poll in which voters prefer Democrats to Republicans this November. In her article it states:

The AP-Ipsos survey asked 789 registered voters if the election for the House were held today, would they vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate in their district. Democrats were favored 51 percent to 40 percent.

Not surprisingly, 81 percent of self-described liberals said they would vote for the Democrat. Among moderates, though, 56 percent backed a Democrat in their district and almost a quarter of conservatives – 24 percent – said they will vote Democratic.

There are two misunderstandings about this poll. First, it is a misunderstanding to interpret the poll as a vote of confidence in Democratic candidates. Other polls like this PEW Research poll, have Republicans and Democrats as parties separated by a only a few percentage points in terms of low regard. This favoring of Democrats is reflective of two other trends at play. First is the backlash effect against the Republican performance at the helm. Voters having lost confidence in Republicans, including some conservatives, will be voting Democrat only because they perceive this is the only way to convey their deep disappointment in Republican control. This should not be mistaken as an endorsement of Democrats in general as a better party or candidates.

The second misunderstanding about this poll is on the part of the respondents to it, I suspect. They may be indicating they will vote for a Democrat, but, not necessarily because they know the candidate or what they stand for, but, because in their minds, there are only two choices in November: a Democrat or a Republican. This misunderstanding and frankly, lack of homework on the part of these poll respondents reflects a general ignorance and apathy toward third party and independent candidates. There will be more than two choices in a great many district and state races in November. It is a gross public misunderstanding to think their voting choice is limited to a Democrat or Republican.

I would argue that conservatives will get far better conservative performance out of Libertarian candidates than they will out of Republicans. And conversely, I would argue that liberals will get far better liberal performance out of Green Party candidates than they will out of Democrat candidates. And for moderates, there will be a number of independent candidates whose platform straddles left and right in an attempt to seek real solutions to real problems regardless of whether the approach is considered liberal or conservative.

All of these combine to provide voters this November with many more choices than the just the two presented by the RNC and DNC. I am heartened by the surge in anti-incumbent sentiment reflected in this poll. But, I believe voting punitively toward candidates is a lesser choice than voting for candidates who may have a higher chance of actually changing things for the better.

As many anti-incumbent supporters know, voting out enough incumbents will bring desperately needed reforms which the current batch of incumbents are not willing to commit to, given their 94% record of being reelected no matter how badly they perform. Voting out incumbents as a strategy for positive change and reform is a better and more positive rationale for voting out incumbents than what I suspect will be the trend to just punish lack of performance and disappointment in Republican performance.

I encourage all voters to take an hour or two before entering the booth on November 7 to review all the congressional candidates and their positions on the issues. And select one based both on the positive strategy of removing incumbents to bring about change and reform, as well as a challenger whose philosophy and record speaks to the voter's expectations for real solutions to our growing problems in America.

Voting for a Democrat just because a voter is disappointed with Republicans is not, in my opinion, going to be the most rational and intelligent vote. The most rational and intelligent vote is a vote for something positive, not a vote against something negative. I can think of no more positive outcome than putting the fear of voters and an anti-incumbent groundswell firmly into the minds of our Congressional politicians. Fear of losing reelection usually brings out the best performance in representatives. That is my view. What's yours?

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About David R. Remer

  • http://www.1bigdragon.blogspot.com Peter J

    I never put much faith in polls, especially in such a confused political atmosphere as we’re in.

    I believe that you are partly right, that many voters aren’t seeing the big picture and as you say are displaying ignorance and apathy toward a third party possibility, except that the reason for this seeming lack of interest doesn’t necessarily stem from apathy a much as from ignorance.

    I believe many voters aren’t favoring democrats as much as they are voicing their disapproval for the current administration. Basically the Bush administration has become the albatros around the republican neck.

    I don’t think that the democrats have enough of a support vote to pull them through if the republicans were to distance themselves from Bush as much as possible and there were a strong third party show pulling from the democrats. This could very well leave the Rep party with the majority vote.