As a few of you may know, I’m active in Unity 08. In fact, I’m a Kentucky delegate. What is Unity 08 you ask? Well, as I see it, Unity 08 is an idea whose time has come. Overwhelmingly people are tired of politics as usual. There is a large and growing disconnect between the American people and the folks inside the Beltway in Washington (for that matter any state capital). Case in point, consider illegal immigration. The vast majority of Americans want it stopped…now. Washington, if we’re lucky, gives us lip service while continuing to doing nothing, and they have no intentions of doing anything. Americans want English as the national language. Washington doesn’t. So guess what happens? Nada amigos.
We often hear politicians of both parties say that, when elected, they're going to kick out the special interests; political insiders; career politicians (pick any you like or make up your own popular politicial villain). Somehow, they’re going change the system all by themselves. How stupid do they think we are? Voters don’t fall for that garbage anymore, if they ever really did. We know that no one person is going to change a system so engrained with corruption and cronyism. It just isn’t going to happen. It doesn’t matter who you are or what office you’re running for.
We hear how Democrats represent the working men and women and Republicans back big business. If the Democrats truly represented "the people", do you think a Republican could even get elected dog catcher? No, not likely. The same goes for the GOP. The truth is that both parties are owned by the same big business interests. True, both parties do, in varying degrees, throw the working class, which includes the small business owner, a bone now and again, but the big bucks are protected by both parties. I suspect that’s where the real differences between the two major parties lay: who’s going to control the big dollar pork projects and gets the kickbacks?
That’s where Unity 08 comes in. This is a national organization which is tired of politics as usual. They are interested in finding common ground-regardless of political party-and finding ways to solve our most pressing issues. I guess you might say that they represent the unrepresented political center of this county, which is the majority of the people. If you’d like to read more about them, I suggest you check out their website at: http://www.unity08.com/. The point of this article is an interesting comprehensive poll that Unity 08 just concluded. I’d like to share some of the results with you.
According to their national survey, 43% of those polled felt that neither party has quality candidates currently running for president. Of those who did have a preference, 24% thought the Democrats offer better the candidates compared to only 14% who liked the Republican choices. 19% thought both parties offered equally good choices. A whopping 62% thought there was no meaningful diversity on the issues between the candidates, while only 21% thought there was. 17% weren’t sure. Is this further proof of cookie cutter candidates?
On the issue of key qualities the respondents looked for in a candidate, leadership qualities was ranked number one by 70% on those who answered. A close second was character, with 66%. I thought the third highest quality was particularly telling. 60% thought the key most important quality in a candidate was straight talk. No BS. Wow. Guess that let’s out most of the lawyers running huh? Personal integrity ranked next with 58% while good judgment garnered 51%. At the other end, being an “outsider" was considered important by only 8%, and personality polled only 18%. Interestingly, charisma was considered important by only 30% and 37% ranked overall position on issues as most important. Does this mean that we’re looking for a decisive plain spoken leader, even if we don’t agree with them on all the issues? Perhaps that explains why Americans were so enthralled with Ronald Reagan.
The Unity 08 poll also examined various organizations, and how the respondents felt about each. Perhaps not surprisingly, we most admire our military. This was followed by the environmental movement, the Supreme Court, labor unions and business corporations. Next on the list of most respected institutions was (and this surprised me), was the NRA. Barely behind the NRA was the ACLU. The National Democratic Party came next, followed by the United Nations.
After the UN, came the news media (there was no distinction made between conservative or liberal). Coming in at 11th place the National Republican Party. Congress dragged in just ahead of the federal government as an institution. So who was dead last of the most respected institutions? The Christian Coalition.
When respondents were asked, “Do politicians listen?” they said special interest groups welded to much power in having the politician’s ear (and I suspect that’s not the only thing). Next was party politics. They are so polarized that nothing gets accomplished. Politicians who didn’t “practice what they preach” and were out of touch or quickly lost touch with the people were the next two comments.
In terms of actual candidates running, the first three positions were basically “none of the above” or "ideal" candidates. When we finally get to actual candidate, Barack Obama was the highest ranked in fourth place. Rudy Giuliani came in fifth place. Following, in descending order, was John Edwards, Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Hilary Clinton (at the time of the survey, Fred Thompson had not yet declared). I should also point out that there was a big disparity between the top three “none of the above” or “ideal” candidates and the actual candidates running.
The respondents identified themselves as 27% Independent (the fastest growing segment of voters), followed by 19% Democrat and 18% Republican. 13% said they leaned Democrat while 10% leaned Republican. 13% said they were registered as a third party or listed no party. Now, I was really intrigued by the next question. The majority said they were slightly left of center on social issues and slightly right of center on economic issues. To read the poll in its entirety, visit the Unity 08 site at: http://www.unity08.com/files/linescale/2007/08/index.html.
Speaking of polls, the Courier Journal Bluegrass Poll results showed Democrats Steve Beshear and Dan Mongiardo with a commanding lead over incumbent Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher and Lt. Governor Robbie Rudolph by 55% to 35% respectively, with 10% undecided. The AFL-CIO also did a poll on their newsblog which asked if newspaper endorsements affected your decision on who to vote. Overwhelming, the answer was “no”. Care to respond C/J?
So, what do you think of these poll results? Do you agree with them? How would you have answered some of these questions? What do think are the most important qualities a candidate should have? What institutions do you trust the most/least? If you had to pick an ideal leader, past or present, who would it be?