Friday, May 2, 2008

The Voters Speak and They Hate the Process

Democratic voters may have mixed feelings about their party's candidates for the presidency, but they are united on another point: they don't like the nomination process.

This point was made with absolute clarity in a New York Times/CBS poll that ran on page one of the May 1 Times: "Fifty-one percent of Democratic primary voters say they expect Mr. Obama to win their party’s nomination, down from 69 percent a month ago." In contrast, the percentage of Democratic voters who expect Hillary Clinton to win the nomination climbed in the same period from 21% to 34%.

The Times interpreted such results as a sign that recent weeks have taken a toll on Obama. But the really striking statistic is voters' views on the nomination process. The survey polled Democrats, but I can imagine independents and Republicans responding similarly.

"Has the campaign focused too much on personal attributes like race and gender?"

Too much 63%

About right 31%

Not enough 3%

"Does the current system of nominating presidential candidates produce the best candidates?

Yes 39%

No 55%

With results like that, the politicians, journalists, fundraisers, advertisers and political consultants who produce our primaries should to take a lesson: change the system or get out of the way. Nothing less than the health of our democracy is at stake.

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