Voter Interest: the Good and Bad News

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Voter Interest: the Good and Bad News

On the one hand, there is good news about the upcoming election. According to this AP article:
Politics is a water-cooler topic, a dinner-table subject, an issue to discuss after Sunday services, and this year the interest of American voters is at its highest level in more than a decade.

That renewed attention could translate into higher voter turnout on Nov. 7, according to an Associated Press-Pew poll.

Seventy percent say they are talking politics with family and friends, and 43 percent are debating the issues at work. Among churchgoers, 28 percent share their political views ....
The high level of interest is a positive development (although it probably drives some Americans to the polls who have only marginal knowledge of issues or the candidates). On the other hand, that interest among voters is coupled with a dismal level of confidence that their votes will be counted:
The embrace of the democratic process comes despite the view of some that it is flawed, with significant percentages saying their votes don't count.

Only 45 percent of Democrats are very confident their votes will be counted, and only 30 percent of blacks are confident. Almost six in 10 of all voters polled had a lot of confidence their votes will be counted ...
The obvious question is whether those who have less confidence their votes will be counted are less likely to turn out.

It's pretty depressing that black voters are only half as confident as the universe of voters that their vote will be counted. A justifiable fear, but depressing nonetheless.

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