With 'change' in mind, voters voice expectations for the next president

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by WoodysGirl, Jan 31, 2008.

  1. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    By NANCY BENAC and TREVOR TOMPSON, Associated Press Writers

    WASHINGTON (AP) — American voters have a decidedly negative view of how things are going in the country but they are confident that the next president will have the power to change much of what is wrong.

    Some things, however, may be too much even for the president to change.

    According to a new Associated Press-Yahoo! News survey, large majorities of voters believe the president has considerable sway on issues such as inflation, interest rates, the federal deficit, taxes and more. Fully three-quarters believe the president has at least some influence over health care costs. And 69 percent can see the president making gasoline prices go up or down.

    They are less certain, though, about the president's ability to change how things really work in Washington: 55 percent think it's possible; 44 percent are doubtful, no matter who's elected.

    Call it optimism with a cynical streak. Or cynicism with an optimistic streak.

    David Wells, a consultant from suburban Nashville, Tenn., calls it reality.

    The 39-year-old Democrat thinks the next president has an opportunity to change things for the better. But probably only by moving quickly—before inevitably being sucked down by the undertow of Washington's special interests.

    "There's the hope of what you see politically, and then there's the reality," says Wells, who's backing Barack Obama but thinks Hillary Rodham Clinton might be OK, too. "No matter how high they aspire to be, the pool in which they swim is going to taint them sooner or later."

    Voters begin this election year with a grim assessment of the status quo. Roughly three-fourths say the country is on the wrong track.

    And so the question, as framed for them by the presidential candidates, is who is best positioned to change things—someone with Washington experience who can do, or the outsider who can change how it's done?

    Americans are about evenly split on the answer, according to the poll conducted by Knowledge Networks. Fifty-two percent favor experience; 47 percent opt for an outsider.

    Robert Colton, a Republican from Portland, Ore., comes down on the side of experience.

    He yearns for someone who knows "how to work the system to get something done."

    "The one we have right now, he had no insider experience and look what he's done," Colton said, referring to President Bush. He likes Obama and Republican John McCain, both of them senators.

    Barbara Ellis, an independent from Mesa, Ariz., thinks an outsider is the solution.

    "I'm so tired of the pat on the back and 'you do it for me, and I'll do it for you' kind of thing," she said.

    But in a sign that the labels of outsider and insider can mean different things to different people, Ellis also favors Obama and McCain.

    Overall, the poll found, Clinton's supporters overwhelmingly favor experience over change, 78 percent to 21 percent.

    Obama's supporters reflect the flip side, favoring change over experience 72 percent to 28 percent.

    Backers of John Edwards, who dropped out of the race on Wednesday, were about evenly split, providing no easy clues as to whose side they'll take now.

    Among Republicans, supporters of McCain and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who also quit the race on Wednesday, were the ones favoring experience in the poll, and backers of Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee, two former governors, wanted an outsider.

    This latest AP-Yahoo! News survey of more than 2,000 people is part of a series of in-depth polls tracking public attitudes as the campaign unfolds. A strong belief that the country is on the wrong track has been a consistent finding since the series started in November.

    The latest poll, third in the series, found that Democrats are more likely to believe in the power of the president—whatever his or her background—to change things. Republicans and independents, for their part, are much less likely to think a president can have influence over the big issues.

    Presidents themselves might have their own thoughts on how much one person can do. Richard Nixon set a 1980 deadline for ending U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Bill Clinton pledged that the era of big government was over. George W. Bush promised to pay down the national debt by $2 trillion. All turned out to be pipe dreams.

    Nonetheless, there still is plenty of optimism to be found, particularly among younger Americans. About two-thirds of those under age 35 believe it's still possible to change the way Washington works. That compares with 52 percent of those who are older.

    Ask 65-year-old Juanita Green, a retiree from Hartville, S.C., whether it's possible to change Washington, and first she laughs, then she exhales a long "oooohhhhhhh," then she answers.

    "Very little chance," she pronounces at last. "I'm hoping that they'll wisen up one of these days and put the people first."

    It's a hope, though, not an expectation.

    Overall, supporters of Clinton and Obama are about equally likely to think it's possible to change the way Washington works. Voters who backed Edwards, who campaigned passionately against the status quo and the influence of special interests, were least likely to think Washington can be changed no matter who's in the White House.

    The survey of 2,016 adults was conducted from Jan. 18-28, and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points.

    Included were interviews with 943 Democrats, for whom the margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3.2 points, and 740 Republicans, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 points.

    The poll was conducted over the Internet by Knowledge Networks, based on reinterviews of a nationally representative sample of adults initially contacted in November. The respondents were first contacted using traditional telephone polling methods and followed with online interviews. People chosen for the study who had no Internet access were given it for free.


    AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius and Associated Press writer Christine Simmons contributed to this report.
  2. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    Without Campaign Finance Reform, there will be little chance of change in Washington. Big money gets big influence. Selling out needs to be more difficult and less attractive.
  3. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

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    This whole "Change" thing is laughable.

    What kind of change do you want?

    Let's get out of Iraq? OK, what do you do with the vacuum left there?

    You want economic change? Like what? Billions more in increased taxes?

    Foreign policy Change? Like what? Not fighting the war on terror?

    For those of you who parade around with the ignorant idea of "Change" you better come up with a better alternative to what we are doing now.

    Don't just scream change with an alternative. And honestly, the only one who is talking about "Change" who has actually put some real ideas out there is Ron Paul. I don't agree with everything the guy says but at least he has some alternatives.

    Hillary and Obama doesn't say a thing that they would do differently other than turning us into even more of a nanny state.
  4. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    Would have been good to consider that before going in, eh? Without some Iraqi political consolidation, all we have is a military fire brigade that can calm things anywhere it is, but we don't have enough troops to the do the whole country. You really want 100,000 troops deployed for the next ten years? The expense alone would be a major Al Qaeda victory. I want someone to work on this who can see problems with their plans in less than three years.

    I'd prefer that to putting it all our expenses on our Bank'O'China credit card. I'd prefer law written to help American citizens and not just American CEOs.

    Nice Staw Man there. Fighting Extremist Terrorists (as opposed to a word) is done with international cooperation and police work. Not doing Al Qaeda's recruiting for them.

    Sadly, I think almost every candidate left would have a better alternative to what we we have done.

    Of course, when your ox gets gored, like state intervention in individual's affairs, like, say, who can get married, suddenly it is indeed time for a nanny state to make things go the way you want. Too many so called conservatives tout local control -- until some local area does something they don't like, then the story becomes, 'Oh no, this must be done at the federal level.'
  5. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

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    Spoken like a true liberal.

    You like taxes. You are for homosexuality on the same level as traditional marriage. And like most liberals, you say that anything would be better than what we have now but you have no answers.

  6. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    Spoken with true reactionary spirit. You just illustrated my point.

    And I would prefer taxing to massive borrowing from our major economic rival. It's more honest. If you think this expensive war is so good, you should be willing to fork up some of the money for it.

    Read some history. There are all sorts of forms of marriage. The 1950's TV style nuclear family that you seem to think is sacrosanct is not written in stone.

    I chose alternative marriage because I knew it would show your absolutist desire to have everyone live by your religious rules. And have that enshrined in law, regardless of others' wishes. Personally, civil union would be fine with me. No need to seize the word, if that bothers you or others. But it's not the government's proper role to favor one religion over another. Far too often the complaints I see are the cries of lost advantage. This should be a level playing field, with equal oppurtunity before the law.
  7. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Hunka Hunka Burning BP Staff Member

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    Whether you believe in Cajun's points of views politically. He does make a good point in one area.

    The Change Mantra is always used in election cycles and more often than not it is just a buzz word that is used. More often than not no big changes are made.
  8. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    Have to agree. That is a very valid point.

    Oddly, I see McCain and Obama as the most likely to actually affect things. McCain, because he has tried to do so in the past (thus the maverick label), and Obama because of his background and pre-campaign positions and words. And Ron Paul, of course.

    I am tired of voting for the same old devils-you-know.
  9. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

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    Well let's see here... I do pay for this war. More than my share of it mind you. I also support military families as well.

    As for the marriage thing, I never said "alternative" (read gay) unions should be outlawed, I just don't think they should be recognized as traditional marriage. If two dudes want to lay around with each other, so be it. They have to deal with whatever comes of it. But there should be no government acknowledgment of it.

    Marriage is between one man and one woman.
  10. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    If I had a dime for every time politicians campaigned on change I would be a rich man and could afford their tax increases. :laugh2:
  11. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    :D :D
  12. arglebargle

    arglebargle Well-Known Member

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    Okay, I have no problem with reserving 'marriage'. It is just the government sanctions advantages tied to what essentially is a religious event. Seperate the two, no problem.

    Marriages have and do exist all over the world that have different arrangements. As I recall, that is not even the only style sanctioned in parts of the bible, right? We certainly don't arrest those rich Saudis when they show up with their 20 or 40 wives. I bet they get the family rate at the hotel as well.

    I just find this issue interesting in its pull between the 'local control' and the 'social control' aspect.
  13. Cajuncowboy

    Cajuncowboy Preacher From The Black Lagoon

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    Actually marriage is NOT a religious event. You can go to the Justice of the Peace and get married and never have to see a preacher or a church. Atheists get married all the time.

    Brainpaint is married but he's an atheist. (If I mis-characterized you I'm sorry. not intentional)

    The bottom line is that the institution of marriage is the bedrock of civilization. It is meant to propagate the human race. That is what sex is for. And idealy it should be monogamous.

    As I said, I am not for outlawing homosexuality, but I don't belive that their "Unions" should be treated the same as between a man and a woman.

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