I haven't blogged about politics in awhile. It's been mostly pictures, but since the primaries are kicking up I keep getting more and more fascinated by what's going on. Reading through my normal roundup of political blogs today I saw an interesting piece related to yesterday's NH primary. Of course the big question on every political website today has to do with why the pre-primary polls in NH were so inaccurate in relationship to last night's results. One news story presents an interesting and seemingly plausible answer: it has to do with how the election itself was setup.
Read more here, but my summary of what they report in the article is that NH has, in the past, rotated the order of names on the ballot. This year they did not, printing a uniform ballot where the Democratic candidates were listed in alphabetical order starting with Joe Biden (who has dropped out of the race) then Hillary Clinton, and about 21 names later Barack Obama. Now, this alone wouldn't be super interesting if it weren't for the fact that studies by the author of the article linked above have shown that candidates can often get at least a 3% bump in voting based on their placement towards the top of a list on the ballot.
Anyway, that aside, I think yesterday's results in NH are an interesting and healthy development for the 2008 elections, and for America. I think we'll all benefit from having more states weigh in on deciding who the two bigger candidates are, and I hope that this process allows us all to learn more about who the candidates are, how they respond to adversity, what their policy positions, and how we might be able to read their likely approach to leading our nation.
I personally all but dismiss the same questions that cause much hand-wringing especially around Obama's preparedness and experience. I base that personal bias on my own sense that many who are steeped in and attuned to the Washington game due to years of playing it often seem far from my own policy preferences, world-view, and vision for what America should hold up as its ideals. I know getting things done involves compromise, but look at all the compromise congress has done this year, and how much it has caused them to be berated from both their opponents and their own supporters. I really do hope this election might bring some substantive change, in the form of a new vision, a new day where we can think as a nation about the future we want, and how we can get ourselves there... building new and interesting coalitions to make change happen, and thinking creatively about how to strengthen all our systems, both the truly hurting ones (let's see... healthcare, education...) and the ones that work well now but seem in danger down the road.
Wow, that was quite a ramble. Thanks, New Hampshire, for getting me churning there. Congrats to all the Hillary supporters out there. This Obama supporter can't wait to see what the next few months bring.