News Headlines for Independent Voters 9/24/09

News Headlines for Independent Voters 9/24/09


Independent voters are at the center (though not necessarily centr-IST!) of the current firestorm going on in the country over healthcare, socialism, war, and nearly every other issue around. I was reading Jonathan Weisman’s article in the WSJ yesterday (see below) and was struck by some of the questions that the NBC/WSJ poll asked voters. Here’s one:

“What is your preference for the outcome of next year’s congressional elections–a Congress controlled by Republicans or a Congress controlled by Democrats?”

Obviously we live in a 2-party system, so that would be the question. But that doesn’t have to be the question, and it ought not be the question. Imagine a poll that asked voters “What is your preference for the outcome of the next year’s congressional elections–a Congress controlled by hacks and partisan shills for the major parties, or people who care about the future of the country?”

Another question in this survey asks:

“When it comes to the partisanship going on in Washington, do you feel this is mainly due to an unwillingness of the Republicans to compromise and find a middle ground to work with the Democrats, or that this is due to an unwillingness of the Democrats to compromise and find a middle ground to work with the Republicans, or do you feel that it is equally the fault of both parties?”

Skipping past the fact that whose fault it is simply doesn’t make a difference, the answers from voters were interesting:  Since February, those who think it’s the Repubs’ fault has gone down from 29% to 22%; those who believe the Dems are at fault has stayed practically even going from 14% to 15% in that time span; and those who think it’s the fault of both parties? You guessed it — starting with a majority of 56% in Feb., it’s now 61%. Voters identifying as Strictly Independent, or Independent/ leaning Democrat or Republican made up 43% of the survey respondents.

Here are my picks for the week’s news for indies:

Read more news for independents at The Hankster

  • kranky kritter

    1000 times Yes. When it comes to complaining that pollsters ask questions that perpetuate the status quo, you’re preaching to the choir. If I had a hundred buck for every time I read a poll and though “why didn;t you ask…” I’d be a rich man.

    I’d like to see pollsters plumb the depths of folks views about congress. It’s becoming pretty clear that “F’s all around” is an ever-more-popular grade for congress.

    What I am hoping to see is a handful of candidates over the next few years who try running as “post-partisan” independents and promise to put regular folks interests over special interests. But I can’t really imagine where such folks could come from asknown and viable candidates. As long as they speak the platitudes mentioned yet run under the umbrella of one of the 2 major parties, I feel like I must assume they are full of crap.

    Quite possibly, the kind of reform that needs to be supported is the kind of political mechanics stuff you have been mentioning, Nancy. Like open primaries and run-off elections. Seems like there is no alternative to describing what an improved congresscritter would look like, and then figuring out what kinds of revisions the system needs to elect such folks.

  • Nancy Hanks

    kranky — yes, thems that makes the rules, rule, as the saying goes. That’s why I agree that the mechanics makes a difference. We (the American people) have been trying to tell Congress what we want for a long time and they just don’t listen. They sit in office and make up rules and regulations that virtually ensure that they will stay there until they die or go to jail. Obviously there are some decent representatives, but the system itself is corrupt–designed to maintain the status quo. I’ve been working with others (CUIP for example has committees in 35 states) to build a grassroots independent movement (an organized base) that can change the questions that are being asked and change the culture of politics. And I think the way we get truly independent congresscritters (love that!) is to produce them ourselves from that grassroots base. That’s the only way we’ll be able to break the 2-party death-grip.
    Thanks for your comment!