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October 20, 2008

Voting Strategy for President

Steven R. Berryman

How can pollsters possibly get it right? Sampling and trend analysis, and picking the correct “target groups” would seem to be impossible efforts, based upon my informal surveys.


My hobby is to ask almost everyone I come into contact

how they intend to vote and why. I also take in as many unique sources of news and information as humanly possible.


What I find is amazingly diverse in types of political answers and rationale, or lack thereof, and is quite a broad spectrum in latitude.


My brother-in-law Dave has decided that the only comprehensive approach to picking a candidate is to change party allegiance with each election. Democrat followed by Republican followed by Democrat, etc., every four-year cycle.


His strategy is that each party is too similar to the other in terms of allegiance and both have sold out. It’s best to keep randomness in the process, to keep everything balanced and from becoming too one sided. This is a very creative form of protest vote. Diabolical, actually.


The old man down the street that cashiers at our corner convenience store is going to vote against McCain/Palin, (as opposed to “for” Obama/Biden) based upon his age. The “one heartbeat away” thing; how ironic. To cement the decision, Sarah Palin came across to him as being rude, was his afterthought. That was that.


My wife’s side of the family typically votes the party line for Republicans. This is just how it’s done. Sorry, no conversation to be had here! Fortunately, I’m with them this year, so I don’t argue it, even at family functions, as is my custom.


Myself? My plan is always to attempt to pick the right man for the job of running America, and without party prejudice. I get this notion from my independent father, who is unusually intellectually honest in his approach to the decision. I copy his method. This year he will vote Democrat, and I, Republican, so we cancel out.


I wonder who screwed up. And, yes, I still get invited over every so often!


The back half of my personal selection process is to support my party only when we have nominated the best man, or when both candidates appear to be close in value to the country. No problems this time for me with my Republican-affiliated friends.


My eco-friendly best friend Mark will vote for Sen. Barack Obama, as the Democrats surely own the global warming story, and love the land more. He’s been consistent for 35 years, even before “save the whales.” His lovely wife takes pictures of polar bears and is even more sure than he is.


Ideologically, my friend Steve will vote Republican, as he sees creeping socialism in all things Obama. He also cites Bill Ayres and the radical ties to ACORN as an unresolved problem. We have stopped talking about the Rev.Jeremiah Wright altogether.


Issues of faith seem to remain unresolved in the minds of some, with that middle name and all…


Frequent radio contributor to WFMD, “Woodchuck,” announced he is not voting for anyone and is disgusted with both choices this year. I hear this one a lot. Bob Miller, recipient of his call-in comments and host of the Morning News Express, asked him to reconsider this choice or be banned from the show! Bob is right, of course, and upholds the process. Surely Woodchuck could write in “Muskrat” or something!


I know of whites that use color as a factor in a tie-breaker consideration and plan to vote Republican, but won’t admit the rationale. Some black friends – typically Republican – have suddenly turned Democrat, at least for this election. Let’s hope that this unfortunate set of facts cancels itself out.


My friends (the anti-Illegal immigrant group) are generally non-partisan, and dislike both candidates at times. However, I still hear “McCain will build the fence, while Obama will build a bridge” quite often!


Sure McCain voters, a Republican-to-center political forum group which I frequent called The Maryland Thursday Meeting, has taken much first hand testimony about voter fraud. Somehow this outcome always seems to benefit the Democrats in a reliable way.


Race, religion, social justice, there are just so many determining factors to consider! I have even heard that some people are so upset with the conduct of the Bush/Cheney administration, that they may go Democratic for that reason alone.


A great U-Tube video now making the rounds on the Internet comes from the Howard Stern’s radio show. It features a man asking confirmed Obama supporters in Harlem whether they are okay with his selection of Sarah Palin as vice president in the set-up joke. They were all for the Democrat’s picking the governor of Alaska as running mate! Ah, the great unwashed masses.


Senator Obama’s campaign is up by 2% now, but only within the paradigm of the cross-section called “likely voters.”


How about those unlikely voters? What of the polls’ margins of error? And what kind of margin of error could we possibly use with what is widely known now as “the Bradley effect,” made famous in the 1982 race for governor in California.


Tom Bradley, a black man, was ahead by 20% in the polls the eve of the election and still lost. Evaluations of what happened are unclear, but by some accounts the voters must have thought it okay to lie to pollsters based on voting along racial lines.


Underlying thoughts of bigotry will remain safely away from pollsters until Election Day, as there is rightly so much pushback these days.


But just how far have we really come as a nation?



Yellow Cab
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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