Monday, September 3, 2012

Election Observations in Florida

I am currently in South West Florida. I will be returning to the UK this weekend. While in the sunshine state I have been attempting to get a feel for ground level voter leanings concerning this year's Presidential election. There is clearly a close split between likely voters. However, I have been able to make a number of conclusions. 

1) Republicans are far more energized than Democrats. The Republicans that I have met are almost unanimous in their profound dislike for the President's policies. Contrary to press spin, the majority of this opposition is focussed on a fundamental distaste for the President's economic approach and not on his personality (although he is not popular in this regard). The energy that this opposition holds in terms of prospective support for Republican candidates (at the national and state levels) is considerable. In contrast to Republican leaning voters, many Democrats are less energetic in their contrasting support for the President. They feel that his economic record is weak and they regard him as having failed to live up to expectations. Not surprising when the President promised biblical level change.

2) Romney-Ryan need to do a better job of explaining their Medicare reforms. A good deal of older voters are concerned that these reforms will deny them medical care. This is largely the result of Democratic ad campaigns that unapologetically lie about the Romney/Ryan position on this issue (The Democratic Party has no plan so just relies on lies). To counter Democratic attacks, the Republican ticket simply needs to repeatedly say this

3) Far too few voters are attentive to Afghanistan as an issue. Iran has come up in a few of my conversations, but it disappoints me that most Americans seem to have forgotten about the fight our military (along with our coalition allies) are currently involved in. Supporting our troops means more than waving a flag and a yellow ribbon, it requires an attention to our military operations.

4) By Democrats and Republicans alike, the President is seen as offering few new proposals. In this sense, support for the President by moderate Democrats and independents is largely rooted in their discomfort with the more extreme portions of Republican Party policy. I firmly believe that Romney-Ryan have little interest in issues like gay marriage, abortion and pornography (and will largely ignore GOP religious fundamentalists). However, negative perceptions of the GOP on these issues are undoubtedly damaging the party's ability to reach out to new voters. I always come back to this polling data. Around 40% of Americans are conservative, 35% moderate and only 21% liberal. On these results, the GOP should be landsliding every election. Unfortunately, candidates like Santorum drive many voters away. I am confident that over time as the next generation of Republican leaders begin to run for office, we will be able to attract more of these voters. My generation cares very little for intervention in the private lives of our fellow citizens.

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