Why Bother Voting?

I’ve been looking at the results of the most recent New York Times/CBS Poll.  It’s about a week old now; recent, as polls go.  It seems like a real shame that we have to go through all the fuss and bother of having an election because, clearly, no one can be trusted with a public office.  Any public office.

Let’s see what we have here.  The national economy is bad.  If you add the “fairly bad” and “very bad” scores, you get 80%  Looking back, we see that the percent of people who thought things were pretty good came down under 50% in 2007 and have been headed mostly down ever since.  And it’s getting worse.  If you add together the “about the same” and “getting worse” scores, you get 85%.   Have things gotten “pretty seriously off on the wrong track?”  Yes they have, say 74% of those polled.

Trust in government to help?  The question asks whether you can trust the government in Washington to do what is right: the options are “always/most of the time” and “some of the time/never.”  That second measure is chosen by 89% of the people in this poll.

How about Barack Obama’s handling of things?  Not so good.  Only 50% approve of his handling of foreign policy; only 38% his handling of the economy; only 35% his efforts at job creation.

Congress?  In single digits for the first time since polling was begun.  Who are the 9% who approve of “the way Congress is handling its job?”

So let’s see if I’ve got this.  Things are bad and they are getting worse.  The government can be trusted to do the right thing seldom or never.  The President is handling his job poorly.  The Congress is disastrously bad.

A little over 80% of those polled said they were registered to vote.  About 40% of that 80% are going to vote in a Democratic primary.  That’s a little less than a third of the eligible voters by my calculation.  Another 32% of the 80% plan to vote in a Republican primary.  That’s another 26% of the eligible voters. 

That’s a lot of people.  You have to wonder why they bother.

About hessd

Here is all you need to know to follow this blog. I am an old man and I love to think about why we say the things we do. I've taught at the elementary, secondary, collegiate, and doctoral levels. I don't think one is easier than another. They are hard in different ways. I have taught political science for a long time and have practiced politics in and around the Oregon Legislature. I don't think one is easier than another. They are hard in different ways. You'll be seeing a lot about my favorite topics here. There will be religious reflections (I'm a Christian) and political reflections (I'm a Democrat) and a good deal of whimsy. I'm a dilettante.
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