copyright © 2008 Betsy L. Angert
America is faced with an interesting dilemma; whom might the citizens place in the Oval Office. November 2008 will arrive quickly. January 2009 cannot come soon enough. Many qualified candidates vie for the attention of the people. Among the Democrats, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, John Edwards, Mike Gravel, Dennis Kucinich, Bill Richardson, and Barack Obama cross the nation each day. All wish to meet expectant constituents. The aspirants ask for only one favor. “Please give me an equal opportunity.” Presidential hopeful, Congressman Dennis Kucinich might make this request with more fervor and with reason. Kucinich excluded from ABC debate.
Sadly, few in the States will have a chance to see the hopefuls up close and personal. Three-hundred and one million Americans live in this nation. Each has a concern. All are affected by the decisions a President makes, no matter their age, class, race, color, creed, sex, gender preference, or religion. Four years ago, 221,256,931 were of age and could vote. More persons, eighteen or older call this country home now.
Of these adults, some see themselves as Democrats, others Republican. In recent years, most Americans declared they have and are Moving On. Numerous feel no need to be part of the two Party system. They are Independent and proud of it.
More Voters Are Steering Away From Party Labels
By Rhodes Cook?
Sunday, June 27, 2004; Page B01
Meet a friend of mine. He is a successful lawyer who lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia, has two grown children, and has been a registered Republican for almost his entire adult life.
That is, until now. Increasingly disenchanted with the GOP, but no fan of the Democrats, he is thinking about re-registering as an independent when he completes a move to a new suburban home and has to change his place of voting.
My friend has plenty of company. In this starkly partisan era of Red and Blue America, we may need a third color to describe those who formally call themselves neither Republican nor Democrat. When it comes to registering voters, the two major parties can only look in envy — and dismay — at the swelling ranks of unaffiliated voters.
Since the waning years of the Reagan administration, or basically since the last periodical cicada mating cycle, the number of “other” voters has proliferated. In the 27 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have been registering voters by party since 1987, the Democratic share has plummeted 8 percentage points, declining from an aggregate total of 51 percent to 43 percent. The Republican share has stayed steady at 33 percent. But the proportion of voters who have not identified themselves with either of the major parties has jumped 8 percentage points, from 16 to 24 percent.
What’s impressive about these numbers (at least in the view of political analysts such as me) isn’t the phenomenon itself, but its staying power. Myriad polls over the past two decades have shown that voters, when asked to identify themselves politically, divide about one-third Democratic, one-third Republican and one-third independent. But in terms of registration, most have opted for one major party or the other — perhaps because, in some states, that was the only way they could vote in a party primary. Only recently, have registration figures begun to reflect the poll numbers.
What’s so significant about the rise of the unaffiliated? Well, it’s one thing to tell a pollster that you consider yourself “independent.” No particular consequence arises from that self-identification. But to register as unaffiliated is a stronger statement of preference (or lack of one). Political parties talk about the “base,” and how to energize it. These numbers suggest that the base is eroding, or at least is harder to identify and rely on.
Regardless of this reality, in the twenty-seven states that require a Party affiliation, eight  percent] of those once registered as Democrats now think themselves ruggedly Independent, researchers and the “objective” news media conclude, if they ask Democrats to discuss only Democrats then they have conducted a comprehensive survey. Researchers believe a rational judgment is made when Republicans reply to an inquiry such as, what do you think of the candidates in your Party. It seems only Independents and those outside the mainstream take the actual pulse of the public. When they do, the results are startling, and quite different from conventional “norms.”
‘Long Shot’ Kucinich Buries Democratic Rivals in Nationwide Poll Among Independent Voters
December 21, 2007
Washington, — Democratic Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich, who has been the runaway winner in polls of the Party’s progressive, grassroots base in recent weeks, scored another huge win yesterday by capturing almost 77% of the vote in a nationwide poll sponsored by a coalition of Independent voting groups across the country.
Of the more than 80,000 votes cast for Democratic candidates at http://www.independentprimary.com by self-described independent voters, the Ohio Congressman received 61,477, burying second place finisher, former Senator John Edwards, who received only 7,614 votes, or 9.5 percent. . . .
This is the latest in a string of exceptionally strong finishes by Kucinich in national on-line polls. Last month, he topped all other candidates in 47 of 50 states in a poll sponsored by Democracy for America (DFA), in which he received almost 32% of the 150,000-plus votes cast — more than Edwards and Senator Barack Obama combined. In that poll, Kucinich won both Iowa and New Hampshire.
In a survey by the 90,000-member Progressive Democrats of America, Kucinich took 41% of the vote nationwide. And, in a poll conducted by the progressive The Nation magazine, he won with 35% of the vote. Obama came in second with 24%, and Edwards was third with 13%.
The creators of IndependentPrimary.com said their poll was designed to measure the impact of independent-minded voters on the Presidential election and was “part of a movement bringing together ordinary Americans who think that the good of the country is more important than the good of the political parties.”
Nonetheless, Party politics continues to thrive in the television arena. After the Iowa caucus, the first election year “contest” in the United States, and before the first vote was cast in New Hampshire, ABC News hosted another debate. The premise was people would have a chance to hear the candidates, in each Party prior to an actual primary election.
Rather than present all the Presidential hopefuls to an eager public audience, the network decided to restrict the forum. Regardless of the fact that secret ballots nation wide were not yet submitted, ABC declared, it was time to set standards. Certainly, only the supposed “electables” could appear on stage. Thus, the gauntlet was thrown down.
Candidates hoping to be included will need to accomplish any one of three tasks: (a) place in the top four positions in the Iowa caucuses, (b) obtain 5 percent or higher in recent national polls, or (c) obtain 5 percent or higher in recent state polls.
If, as the rules state, a Presidential hopeful must achieve one of these criterion, based on the Progressive polls, it seemed Dennis Kucinich would easily qualify to appear. Yet, he did not. Apparently, ABC News prefers to honor only specific surveys, those not fully representative of the nation as a whole. In an era, when the populace craves change, conventional wisdom rules.
Many muse and malign Iowa as not reflective of the nation, which may or may not be true; yet, they are happy to embrace the polls that offer a far less accurate snapshot of what American voters think. The results in Iowa call the researchers and the media into question. Democrats did not come out in mass for Clinton. The race was not as close as predicted. Nor did Obama come in second. Independents made all the difference in Iowa. Perchance, these unaffiliated voters have loud voices.
Astute analysis reveals what most say is true, the elite, the acceptable thought police control the masses nationwide. People with little opportunity to meet and greet a candidate in person peruse the polls, see numerous advertisements, and possibly read what a few hundred canvassed persons say, and then decide what they will do.
White House 2008: Democratic Nomination
Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Dec. 19-30, 2007. N=556 registered voters nationwide who are Democrats or lean Democratic. MoE ± 5
“I’m going to read you the names of some Democratic presidential candidates. Which one of the following Democratic candidates would be your first choice for president: [see below]?” If unsure: “Just as of today, would you say you lean toward [see below]?” Names rotated
Hillary Clinton 46 percent
Barack Obama 26 percent
John Edwards 14 percent
Dennis Kucinich 3 percent
Bill Richardson 3 percent
Joe Biden 2 percent
Chris Dodd [The name appears with no percentage listed]
Mike Gravel 0 percent
None (vol.) 2 percent
Unsure 4 percent
Days before the main event, the Iowa Caucuses, according to this reputable Pew survey, the Clinton coronation was certain to occur. With Bill by her side, the public expected to hear an acceptance speech from Hillary Clinton on January 3, 2008. ABC News certainly understood this momentum. Before they decided who would appear on their stage they also polled the public. Registered Democrats and those that lean Left, were interviewed, or at least a full thousand plus were asked of their possible vote.
ABC News/Facebook poll. Dec. 16-19, 2007. N=1,142 adults nationwide. Fieldwork by TNS. Results below are among leaned Democrats.
“If the 2008 Democratic presidential primary or caucus in your state were being held today, and the candidates were [see below], for whom would you vote?”
Hillary Clinton 44 percent
Barack Obama 27 percent
John Edwards 11 percent
Dennis Kucinich 3 percent
Joe Biden 2 percent
Bill Richardson 2 percent
Other/None (vol.) 4 percent
Unsure 7 percent
Again, only weeks before the Iowa caucuses, a study states Clinton is the candidate of choice. Yet, clearly she was not. A third place showing is not the ceremonial introduction to her inauguration. Perchance there is much to learn from the Iowa caucuses.
Iowa ‘Entrance Poll’ Offers N.H. Clues
By Jennifer Agiesta and Jon Cohen?
?Saturday, January 5, 2008; A08
Do the outcomes of the Iowa caucuses offer clues to what will happen in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary? A look at the “entrance poll” taken Thursday night in the Hawkeye State offered five things to watch for next week:
1. Independents matter.
Independents were a small but powerful force in the caucuses of both parties, and an even higher percentage will vote in New Hampshire.
On the Democratic side, independents made up 20 percent of caucusgoers and contributed heavily to Sen. Barack Obama’s victory margin. . . .
In 2000, the last time both parties held contested primaries in New Hampshire, about four in 10 voters called themselves independents. McCain won the GOP primary that year by prevailing among independents, while Republicans went for George W. Bush.
Unaffiliated voters in New Hampshire can choose to participate in either party’s primary, and the fortunes of Obama and McCain may hinge on which way independents break. Washington Post-ABC News polling last month found that more than six in 10 of the state’s independents planned to vote in the Democratic primary.
America is in ruin. The sub-prime disaster is daunting. Once solid citizens seek relief; homes are in foreclosure. Credit crunches cause banks to bleed; they fear the red fluid may flow. Soldiers die daily abroad. More hemorrhaging. Very few industrial jobs exist in the United States. The dollar is devalued. American children are less well educated. Forty-seven million plus are uninsured. Citizens grasp for straws, even for straw polls. The State of the Union is fragile.
People are in a panic. When we contemplate the future, according to a Harvard Report, the National Leadership Index, more than three quarters of Americans think we are in a leadership crisis. Yet, often, our fellow citizens turn to corporate accounts for accurate information. This may be most true among the Independents.
34% of Independents believe that the press is not politically biased.
Perhaps, that is part of the problem; people have faith in polls. Millions trust flawed data. Fallacies flaunted by the elites that favor the status quo have much influence. We might ask own owns the media? The answer is, it is not the average American. Nevertheless, most Americans rely on the press for fair and accurate reporting. Even those aware of what is, often forget.
In 2004, Bagdikian’s revised and expanded book, The New Media Monopoly, shows that only 5 huge corporations — Time Warner, Disney, Murdoch’s News Corporation, Bertelsmann of Germany, and Viacom (formerly CBS) — now control most of the media industry in the U.S. General Electric’s NBC is a close sixth.
Still, millions presume opinion polls are the perfect gauge, or at least as good as it gets. However, ultimately, people are unpredictable. Yet, every news organization declares they know what will be come election day. The press maintains the people tell them what they think. Might we ask, do the media, and the profiteers who own these broadcast organizations tell the people what to believe?
Prominent among the pollsters is the esteemed Wall Street Journal [now owned by billionaire Hillary Clinton backer Rupert Murdoch] and NBC News, a division of General Electric, and a network that energizes the people. Noteworthy, and also a General Electric company, Newsweek Magazine coupled with prestigious Princeton researchers cannot be discounted.
NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll conducted by the polling organizations of Peter Hart (D) and Bill McInturff (R). Dec. 14-17, 2007. Asked of Democrats, and non-Democrats who said they would vote in a Democratic presidential primary (from a total sample of 1,008 adults nationwide).
“Let me mention some people who might seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2008. If the next Democratic primary for president were being held today, for which one of the following candidates would you vote . . . ?” If unsure: “Well, which way do you lean?”
Dennis Kucinich 4 percent
Unsure 7 percent
Newsweek Poll conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Oct. 31-Nov. 1, 2007. N=433 registered Democrats and leaners nationwide. MoE ± 6.
Dennis Kucinich 4 percent
Unsure 7 percent
If the margin of error pendulum travels in either direction, we must ask, how many more Democrats might vote for Dennis Kucinich. Granted there are those who wish to identify this Presidential hopeful as too extreme or not electable. However, if we assess the assumption of those that claim to speak for the majority we understand the rationale is flawed.
Dennis Kucinich is not viewed favorably by likely voters — 24 percent have a favorable opinion of him, 31 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him, 12 percent are neutral, and 33 percent don’t know enough about him to say. Kucinich’s net favorability rating is -7 percent.
With much help from the media and the moguls who own these resources, many Americans have no idea who Dennis Kucinich is! However, they are intimately familiar with Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and even John Edwards.
Edwards’ supporters say this is not so. “John is being ignored by the media.” Wife Elizabeth spoke of this on Hardball with Chris Matthews. The supportive spouse contends; although John placed second in the race, the focus was on Hillary and Barack. Others picked up on the campaign cry.
Just after the Iowa caucuses, the periodicals were flooded with the premise, Edwards: ‘The People’s Candidate,’ does not receive the attention the other front-runners do. The theory now espoused is, former Senators Edwards’ proposals threaten the corporate tycoons who own the press. If Edwards is elected, there will be true change. Profits will dwindle. Thus, to ensure that the people do not hear Edwards message the media does not cover the candidate.
While the supposition seems apt, the fact is John Edwards appears prominently in ever poll. He stands solidly on center stage during each debate. Edwards receives equal time and is essentially invested in the status quo. John Edwards does not challenge the conglomerates as Dennis Kucinich does.
John Edwards does not fully separate himself from those who support the standards of today. Goldman Sachs, Citigroup Incorporated, legal firms galore, and Fortress Investment Group all contribute bundles to his campaign.
Hedge-Fund Ties Help Edwards Campaign
Firms Increase Political Gifts
By John Solomon and Alec MacGillis?
Monday, April 23, 2007; A01
Two years ago, former senator John Edwards of North Carolina, gearing up for his second run at the Democratic presidential nomination, gave a speech decrying the “two different economies in this country: one for wealthy insiders and then one for everybody else.”
Four months later, he began working for the kind of firm that to many Wall Street critics embodies the economy of wealthy insiders — a hedge fund.
Edwards became a consultant for Fortress Investment Group, a New York-based firm known mainly for its hedge funds, just as the funds were gaining prominence in the financial world — and in the public consciousness, where awe over their outsize returns has mixed with misgivings about a rarefied industry that is, on the whole, run by and for extremely wealthy people and operates largely in secrecy.
Transparency, truthfulness, all the public clamors for is indeed hidden from view. While John Edwards may wish to posture as the people’s candidate and a menace to mainstream media, he is not much of a danger to the elites. Indeed, each poll includes his name. Not all the surveys mention Presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich.
Former Senator and Vice Presidential aspirant John Edwards was invited to every public debate. An organization never thought to question Edwards’ viability. Edwards has forever been deemed electable. He has more than equal access to the people. Dennis Kucinich, the true candidate of the people does not.
While the Federal Communication Commission [FCC] rules, which govern radio and television licenses, states stations must operate in the public’s interest, we can see they do not. ABC News is our most recent example. This network limits our option to see and hear each of the Presidential hopefuls, even before the first secret ballot is cast. Denying access to all the aspirants, to disallow a participant in a debate seems antithetical to the intent of the FCC regulations. To produce polls to validate and justify obstruction is not to inform the people. Yet, here we are. Inaccurate as these seem to be, the surveys solidify the message the media and magnates wish to express.
American Research Group poll. Dec. 9-12, 2007. N=600 likely Democratic primary and caucus voters nationwide. MoE ± 4.
“If the 2008 Democratic presidential preference primary/caucus were being held today between [see below], for whom would you vote?”
Dennis Kucinich 4 percent
Unsure 10 percent
Gallup Poll. Nov. 11-14, 2007. N=485 Democrats and Democratic leaners nationwide. MoE ± 5.
“Next, I’m going to read a list of people who may be running in the Democratic primary for president in the next election. After I read all the names, please tell me which of those candidates you would be most likely to support for the Democratic nomination for president in the year 2008, or if you would support someone else. . . .” Names rotated.
Dennis Kucinich 4 percent
None (vol.)/Unsure 8 percent
Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. Oct. 17-23, 2007. N=837 registered voters nationwide who are Democrats or lean Democratic. MoE ± 4.
“I’m going to read you the names of some Democratic presidential candidates. Who would you most like to see nominated as the Democratic Party’s candidate for president in 2008: [see below]?” If unsure: “Is there anyone you are leaning toward as of today?” Names rotated
Dennis Kucinich 4 percent
Unsure 7 percent
We can see again and again, among the Democrats, routinely Dennis Kucinich often ranks one percentage point below the arbitrary requirement. The number of undecided voters is high. Perchance these individuals seek further information. However, with thanks to the restrictions imposed by ABC News, [and other organizations] a discussion panel meant to enlighten the electorate restricts their exposure to a meaningful alternative.
Some of the studies do not even mention the possible President, Dennis Kucinich. Hence, when the results are released they are invalid; yet, offered as truth. The American people are lead to believe as the media decides. The press makes the final pronouncement. They will tell us who delivers the message, when, where, why, and how.
CBS News Poll. Oct. 12-16, 2007. N=456 Democratic primary voters nationwide. MoE ± 5.
“Suppose the race for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination in 2008 comes down to a choice among Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards. Who would you most like to see nominated: Clinton, Obama, Edwards — or would you rather see someone else nominated?” Names rotated
Clinton 51 percent
Obama 23 percent
Edwards 13 percent
Other/None 7 percent
Unsure 6 percent
Hillary Clinton is the clear winner . . .or was, until the people of Iowa decided otherwise. Since the caucus, all we thought we knew is topsy-turvy, turned on its head, and twisted in the wind, except for the fact that Independents decide. In This Race, Independents Are the Prize. If the Independent voter, which might be any of us, has little or no ability to hear from a candidate, we must ask ourselves, is this America, the land of the free.
If First Amendment rights are not granted to a celebrated Congressman, a Presidential candidate, can we, the people authentically choose who will represent us. In a nation where the news is dictated, manufactured, and manipulated, do the citizens actually know who is or would have been electable? Probably not. None of us has yet had an opportunity to read the polls that address this issue.
Nevertheless, another canvass did appear, although it was well hidden from view. This tally was not prominently presented as the other surveys were. Although, ABC News and Facebook hosted the recent debate jointly, access to this account was concealed. Yet, here it is.
Barack Obama 60.65 percent
Hillary Clinton 18.21 percent
John Edwards 9.74 percent
Dennis Kucinich 6.51 percent
Bill Richardson 2.61 percent
Mike Gravel 2.29 percent
The definitive Facebook figures show that the future President, Dennis Kucinich placed fourth in the tally used to determine what the voters think of the candidates. The virtually invisible Presidential hopeful, Congressman Kucinich received a greater number of votes than Bill Richardson, a contender deemed acceptable by those who supposedly educate the masses. While Richardson did not receive the required 5 percent in this analysis, he did appear on stage. John Edwards total was not much higher than Kucinich’s. Had this slate appeared, Americans might have known what we are supposed to. forget Dennis Kucinich is viable, electable, and purposely excluded from many a national forum.
America, will we continue to let conglomerates control the message and us, or will we finally decide to take our country back?
Sources, Surveys, and Secrets . . .
- Kucinich excluded from ABC debate. Press TV. January 5, 2008
- The World Book. Central Intelligence Agency.
- Facebook co-sponsors N.H. debate, not without controversy, By Declan McCullagh. C/Net News. January 3, 2008 8:43 AM
- ‘Long Shot’ Kucinich Buries Democratic Rivals in Nationwide Poll Among Independent Voters. FindLaw. Yahoo News. December 21, 2007
- White House 2008: Democratic Nomination
- Iowa ‘Entrance Poll’ Offers N.H. Clues, By Jennifer Agiesta and Jon Cohen.?Washington Post. Saturday, January 5, 2008; A08
- pdf Iowa ‘Entrance Poll’ Offers N.H. Clues, By Jennifer Agiesta and Jon Cohen.?Washington Post. Saturday, January 5, 2008; A08
- Findings Of WMUR/CNN Primary Poll. Source: University of New Hampshire Survey Center. WMUR. Internet Broadcasting.
- National Voter Turnout in Federal Elections: 1960-2004. Info Please.
- Moving On, More Voters Are Steering Away From Party Labels. By Rhodes Cook. Washington Post.??Sunday, June 27, 2004; Page B01
- pdf Moving On, More Voters Are Steering Away From Party Labels. By Rhodes Cook. Washington Post.??Sunday, June 27, 2004; Page B01
- Public Interest, Convenience and Necessity. Museum of Broadcast and Communications.
- National Leadership Index, Center For Public Leadership. John F. Kennedy. School of Government. Harvard University. 2007
- Own Owns What? Columbia Journalism Review.
- Study: Securities suits up on subprime crisis. Jacksonville Business Journal. January 4, 2008
- Loan bailout is not likely to help many homeowners, By Kathleen Pender. San Francisco Chronicle. Sunday, December 9, 2007
- Loss leaders, The costs of the credit crunch mount. There may be more pain to come. The Economist . November 1, 2007
- U.S. falls in education rank compared to other countries, By Elaine Wu. The Kapio Newspress. October 4, 2005
- The Uninsured in America. Public Broadcasting Services.
- Hardball: Elizabeth Edwards Asks What’s It Going To Take To Mention John Edwards. By: Nicole Belle. Crooks and Liars. Saturday, January 5th, 2008
- Edwards: ‘The People’s Candidate’, By Dan Balz. Washington Post. January 4, 2008
- Elizabeth Edwards See Clinton As Copycat. ABC News. September 20, 2007
- Universal Health Care Through Shared Responsibility. John Edwards ’08
- Hedge-Fund Ties Help Edwards Campaign Firms Increase Political Gifts. By John Solomon and Alec MacGillis. Washington Post ?Monday, April 23, 2007; A01
- In This Race, Independents Are the Prize, By Jeff Zeleny. The New York Times. January 6, 2008
- pdf In This Race, Independents Are the Prize, By Jeff Zeleny. The New York Times. January 6, 2008