August 10, 2020

Can government and religion partner?

Posted on 01. Sep, 2012 by Stephan Helgesen in Politics, Social/Cultural

Every ten years the people counters of the U.S. Census Bureau descend on Americans with clipboards in hand to ask the nation a myriad of questions, the most important of which is: “How many people are really living here?”

If you’ve experienced an actual visit from one of the census bureau’s workers you know that their questions don’t stop with that one. They will ask you as many as you’re willing to answer. They’re a bit like Jehovah’s Witnesses, but with one big disadvantage. Unlike their door-knocking JW brethren, they don’t have the powerful back story of the Bible to aid them in pressing their case. What they DO have is the power of the government and an official ID on their side.

The Census Bureau’s information is very useful, and I relied on it while researching this article. I also looked at the Rasmussen and Gallup polling organizations in my quest to find the ‘big game’ in the political jungle – the Republicans and the Rinos (Republicans in Name Only), the Democrats and the Dinos (Democrats in Name Only) and the Swing Voters and Svinos (Swing voters in Name Only). Now that we got the terminology out of the way, how about some facts?

Let’s take the most current national elections of 2010. In the actual elections, according to the Census Bureau, Hispanic voters accounted for 7% of the vote, Blacks 12% and Asians 2.5%.

The most common reason given for not voting was, “I was too busy” at 27%. 16% said, “My vote wouldn’t make any difference.” Fully 68% of the 72% registered homeowners did vote. Only 50% of the 61% registered renters voted. Finally, 61% of the voters were from families making $100K/yr. or more while only 30% came from families making $20K/yr. or lower.

Around the time of the 2010 election, a Gallup poll revealed that 31% self-identified as Democrats (a 22-year low), 29% as Republicans and 38% as Independents. Later in 2011 the company found that self-identified Independents rose to 40% (the largest in 60 years), Republicans dropped to 27% and the Democrats held steady at 31%.

Fast-forward to June 2012 and a Rasmussen poll showed that 35.4% of the people polled identified themselves as Republicans, 34.0% as Democrats and 30% as Independents. Comparing the 2011 numbers from Gallup with the 2012 numbers from Rasmussen and the results are: Republicans gained 7%, Democrats gained 3%, and Independents lost 10%.

The conclusions, based on these numbers, would be that both the Republicans and Democrats are gaining strength and that many previously self-identified  Independents and now moving towards the major parties.

This brings up several questions: do you trust people’s responses; to what do you attribute these shifts and can this information really be used to predict outcomes?

I would argue that the pollsters should have been asking different questions, as the electorate is really all over the map AND don’t always identify with the labels they’re given to choose from.

They should have asked: “Are you, a) a fiscal and social conservative, b) a fiscal and social liberal, c) a fiscal conservative and a social liberal or d) a fiscal liberal and a social conservative?”

There’s another aspect to all of this polling stuff. People lie, all the time, and for different reasons. These days it’s really hard to tell which political stripes are real and which ones are just painted on.

Personally, I think we need to streamline the questioning business. My solution is to give the census responsibility and all the political polling jobs to the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They’re always presentable and extremely polite, and who better suited to get the truth out of us than those who tell it for a living? Take that Rinos, Dinos and Svinos.

- Editor

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