Thursday, January 25, 2007

NPR's Crossing the Divide

NPR has been running a series, Crossing the Divide, examining (*gulp*) the Pros, Cons of Bipartisanship. I guess they took the lead from GW. Heh.

On Monday morning there was an announcement about an upcoming segment in the series that would look at "unaffiliated voters." Gosh, I thought, they'll talk about third parties! By Tuesday, still promoting the same segment, listeners were told that the focus would be on "independents." But what they gave us was a report on voter registration, specifically, "Unaffiliated Voters on the Rise in California" - More California voters are registering not as Republicans or Democrats, but as "decline to state," indicating no party preference. The ranks of the major parties are affected. Will this become a national trend?

Independent voters seem to be increasing. The Pew Center says 32% of voters are among that group.

NPR interviewed Gary South, Democratic campaign strategist for former California Gov. Grey Davis. The very last voters to make up their minds are independents. Says South...

One of the reasons why they are late deciders in campaigns is because...frankly a lot of them think both candidates are liars and you couldn't believe a single thing either one of them said if they told you that the sun was coming up the next morning, and a lot of them, in the final analysis, don't vote.

You have to appeal to them as centrists, says South, although their opinion on individual issues may be anything but. South, again...

Independent voters in this state tend to be moderate to conservative on the fiscal side, and on the social side they tend to be liberal to libertarian.

I think he's got it all wrong - talking about 'both candidates' (read: DemRepubs)being distrusted. As if there is no other candidate choice.

NPR interviewed Curtis Gans, the Director of the Center for the Study of the American Electorate, which has an interesting study here, showing the rise if independents and third party voters.

But there was scant mention of third parties in the NPR segment. So I sent 'em a comment:
Independents are not the only citizen voters unaffiliated with the two major parties. Why didn't you talk about members of the third parties? Haven't you ever heard of the Green Party?

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