Saturday, April 19, 2008
Are we that open minded?
I saw this poll in the local paper initially and when the link from the paper didn't work, I had to find the actual poll itself, which is probably better anyway. This poll says that here in NC, 91 percent of those surveyed do not think that race is a factor in voting, 79 percent do not think that a person's gender should make a difference in voting and 66 percent do not think age is a factor in how they will vote. But, and here is where it gets interesting, 63 percent thought that people they knew would not vote for a female candidate, 54 percent said that they knew people who would not vote for a black candidate and 44 percent said they knew people who would not vote for a candidate who is "too old". This second set of stats are the most interesting to me, so people say that they would not let a person's age, gender or race play a part in their personal vote, but they know people who would let these same factors play a part. This seems like a case where people do not want to admit that they have an issue with a candidate and so they do not admit to it, but when they are given an out like "do you know anyone who would vote this way" they are more honest. Are people really that open minded? Are they really ignoring what should be external factors to how well a person could do the job of being a president? Or are they just saying they are ignoring these factors just so that they do not appear to be a "bad person"? And even if they really are voting based upon a person's record or other factors other than gender, age or race, why are they not telling those around them that there are better reasons to vote for or against someone than such superficial reasons? The final problem I have is that, I do not believe people are really putting these factors aside as the mass media coverage has focused almost solely on the candidates age, gender and age, so how can you say that this is not a factor for you, when that is all you read about? Or maybe they are like me and they only marginally pay attention to the mass media and get information from other sources and really are trying to base their decisions on more relevant factors. One can only hope.