My Current Take on the Political Scene

I continue to follow the presidential race quite closely. And by “quite closely,” I of course mean habitually checking the polls and pundits every break I get. At breakfast. Before I go to bed. At dinner. Constantly. (For those of you playing along at home, my current “go-to” websites for news and information on this are:

  • Real Clear Politics–some great commentary and analysis compiled from all over the place. Fairly good trackers on the various polls.
  • FiveThirtyEight–More super statistics.
  • Scott Erb’s Poll Updates–A political science professor here at my university, Scott does a great job compiling all the various polls out there, presenting them for your viewing pleasure. He updates them very frequently.
I supplement those three mainstays with some CNN, some Fox News, some Drudge, some Huffington Post, and then a mish-mash of whatever-the-heck-I-happen-to-stumble-across. My goal in all this is to get as wide a range of input as possible, from the right-leaning to the left-leaning and everywhere in between. Not because I agree with all of it, but because that’s sort of what “informed” means to me.
The more I follow this race, the more I’m convinced that no one knows what’s going to happen on Tuesday. There are certainly win scenarios for both sides. Republicans think pollsters are misinterpreting their own polls, and they make some pretty compelling arguments for why that might be the case. Then again, Democrats have some strong responses against that line of attack.
Net result? I have no idea what to think, but I find it all incredibly fascinating. It will be very interesting to read the responses people have on Wednesday (or whenever the results are really known). Half of these people are going to be looking quite foolish, methinks. Though of course they’ll be able to blame it on other factors. But they’ll have to blame it on something. This is the first time that I’ve followed politics that polls stopped looking so definite to me. It all comes down to the assumptions pollsters make about the makeup of the electorate on election day, and that’s much more of an art than a science, it appears. Which is definitely not the way pollsters like to portray their results.
How much of an impact will this election have on the country? I honestly don’t believe it will be earth-shattering. Whoever wins will have to deal with a bunch of chuckleheads in Congress, and good luck working with those yahoos. I don’t buy into the hype on either side–that an Obama or Romney victory is either the end of the world or the beginning of a new age of enlightenment, depending on whom you ask.
I’ve pretty much made my mind up at this point, although I could still switch it. I see pros and cons to both candidates. And no, each candidate’s religion doesn’t make a whole lot of difference to me. I was definitely stronger Romney earlier in the race, back during the Republican primaries. But I find myself more and more ambivalent about things the closer we get to the end–mainly because I’ve become more and more sick of political gamesmanship and all the spin and hype. It’s yucky.
Anyway. This isn’t a post to get you to vote one way or another, and I don’t really feel like hearing arguments about it. I’ll decide what I decide. This is a post to encourage people to look at the issues, decide which ones are the most important to them, and then vote accordingly. In an ideal world, it would be an easy decision. One candidate would be clearly better across the board. That isn’t the world I find myself in. I agree with one candidate on some things and the other on the other.
But in the end, you do have to make a choice. Even a non-vote is a vote of a sort.
Thank goodness this will all be over on Tuesday.

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