Water Man Spouts

Monday, January 07, 2008

A Marist Poll

Late last week, a person taking a poll for Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY, called my house. They asked if there was a registered voter who would be willing to answer a few questions about politics, and my son said, "You should probably talk to my father."

The questions were part of a survey to measure possible support for a potential 3rd party run by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. I am not really familiar with Mayor Bloomberg, and had assumed that if he did run, he would tend to hurt the republican candidate in the ’08 election. However, the nature of the questions that were posed made me wonder if that is accurate.

One of the first questions was about how I felt about the candidates in the republican primary? As a democrat, I am delighted, because they are damaged goods. How do I feel about the democratic candidates? Again, as a democrat, I am pleased, because I think that we have strong candidates.

What do I think of 3rd parties? Generally speaking, I think there should be more than three political parties. I think that if the democratic party is representative of the majority of people’s needs, our party would be easily able to create a coalition based on common interests. At the same time, I recognize that a 3rd party candidate can cause difficulties.

The questions that followed were focused on if Senator Clinton faced each of the republican candidates, plus Mayor Bloomberg. There were no questions about if either John Edwards or Barack Obama is the democratic nominee.

After the call, I tried to think of what it meant. I came up with three possibilities: (1) If Senator Clinton is our nominee, Michael Bloomberg thinks he can win; (2) If Senator Clinton is our nominee, Michael Bloomberg thinks his campaign would help her win by dividing the republican and independent vote; or (3) If Senator Clinton is our nominee, Michael Bloomberg thinks his campaign would help the republican, by splitting the democratic and independent vote.

In recent times, discussions about 3rd party candidates tend to focus on Ralph Nader in 2000. After this phone call, I was far more reminded of John Anderson in 1980.


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