Letters to the Editor: Too stressful. Too long. How did elections get this way?
When the polls closed Tuesday, I asked myself, “Did the elections not have to happen?”
The answer is probably no. It is the world’s premier political poll, conducted by the Survey Research Center of America. Its survey sample size is only 1,000 people. I have been asked to comment on it many times in the past year, but I have never received a response.
It is a perfect example of how a poll goes wrong.
Take a look, then, at the data for the final week of the 2010 election when the candidates are being eliminated from the race.
The top 10 most-anticipated states to vote in the election are not all the key battlegrounds, as would be expected. California’s top two choices for the presidency — Sen. Barack Obama and Rep. John McCain — are in the top 10. They are first place for both men. Then comes Illinois and Ohio.
The bottom two spots are Connecticut, a swing state, and New York, both of which are states McCain won easily.
It does look like the “surge” that was expected in the final days of the campaign was not going to be enough to knock down the Obama and McCain numbers in the polls.
So this is where I put it: Why did the 2004 presidential election take seven weeks? And why did the 2009 presidential election take two months? In 2004, the campaign was not only long, it was also overly dependent on outside groups that had an obvious bias or agenda.
Now, in 2010, the Obama campaign and all the super-PACs are getting massive amounts of money from the very groups that would be expected to have an agenda in any normal election. The Democrats are doing more than just pouring money into the race — they are using outside groups that have a vested interest in one candidate or the other or neither.
I suppose that is democracy. But I don’t think it’s good enough or representative.
I don’t really care what happens between now and November 5 or November 7. I will be voting for President Obama.
But that isn’t why I asked the question in the first place.
I asked, “Why did it take so long?”
I realize my question is probably too loaded for today.
With all the attention on the elections, we have