Sunday, January 06, 2008

How Do Americans Vote? Other Musings too

Thanks, Matt but I somehow think you'll get to a computer over there:

I remember long before embarking on this major that I used to debate a friend of mine. I said to him, "Most Americans vote based on one issue alone." He would lob obscenities at me, claiming I knew not what I said. Little did I know how right I was!

Last summer I took my first 400 level class and learned just how Americans vote. Philip Converse, who is considered by many in my field to have written the work on public polling did research on this subject. His definitive work is entitled The Nature of Belief Systems in Mass Publics. Rather than bore you all to death with the work, much of which I don't understand (public polling isn't my specific area, btw), I will briefly summarize what he said.

Converse conducted research in 1956 on how elites and ordinary citizens vote. Briefly, he found out that 11.5% were ideologues or near-ideologues (meaning these are the people who think in terms of liberal or conservative). The majority of Americans, 42%, vote on what is known as group interest. This usually falls to one issue: immigration, Iraq, etc. 24% of Americans vote based on nature of the times, the issue that is in vogue (terrorism, right now); this isn't necessarily the group interest issue. Finally, 22.5% of Americans vote on no issue content: Obama's hair cut looking better than Romney's or some thing of the like.

Now, I will have to go out on a limb here and trust what my professor told me. She told me recent research had been carried out to see if Converse's findings hold true, considering they're a little over fifty years old. They do.

I just turned on the debates about an hour ago, catching the Republicans debating about immigration. A common theme I heard among the candidates was that we can not remove twelve million illegal aliens from our country. Personally speaking, I've heard the number is much greater (through various estimates) than twelve million (specifically that twelve million illegals reside in California alone by one estimate). Above all else, it distresses me that all of the candidates who said it is impossible to remove these illegals from this country. They lied to everyone watching that debate. IT HAS BEEN DONE BEFORE. DO NOT LIE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!!!!

One more thing, I won't be contributing here much longer (on a regular basis). Where am I going? A clue lies in the video below:

1 comment:

  1. Obama had a star carved on the back of his head, afro style during the last debate. Subliminal?


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