"Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you”

Pericles



Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Nine Out of Ten American Voters Surveyed Agree:

It's rare during this time of increased partisanship to find the American electorate agreeing on anything, but this morning a new presidential preference poll from USA Today/Gallup reveals a surprising consensus among American voters. Granted, the headlines from the poll are likely to be about a modest bounce in support for Hillary Clinton and a shift among Democratic voters towards nominating the "most electable" general election candidate.

But buried deeper in the poll is an intriguing number: Nine out of ten voters today say it makes a real difference to them who is elected president. This represents a huge swing (of more than 30 points) compared to polling data from previous election cycles:

A. Does it make a real difference to you who is elected president, or not?




DATEYesNo No opinion
2007 Dec 14-1690100
2000 Mar 10-1260355
2000 Jan 7-1054379
1996 May 9-1257403
1992 Oct 23-2576222
1992 Sep 11-1566304
1992 Apr 20-2253434
1992 Feb 28-Mar 153425
1992 Jan 6-9603010

Only in the closing weeks of the 1992 general election campaign did more than 2/3 of voters share the sentiment. Perhaps this number is a confirmation of the view 2008 may be truly be a "change election."

I can offer up three possible explanations for this change:

1) It is an indictment of the Bush administration's failed policies which have adversely affected the daily lives of American families. Even the most casual voter understands the stakes in the 2008 presidential election.

2) It is a reflection of the increased partisanship that has become a fixture in American politics over the past fifteen years. As we've gone to our separate corners and divided ourselves further apart on the ideological spectrum, the stark differences in governing philosophies have increased the importance of who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

3) The Global War on Terror is more than a bumper sticker slogan. Perhaps 9/11 did change everything. Since the USA Today poll doesn't include data for the 2004 cycle, perhaps this shift happened during the last cycle. If this is the case, I'm afraid we may end up with a President Rudy.

Any other explanations?

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