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Stay weird, 2010

The upcoming election, ladies and gentlemen, as told by The Washington Post's latest poll:

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These results are strange for a lot of reasons. The majority of people approve of their current representative in an environment where Democrats control the Congress, a plurality of people believe the Democrats will do a better job than the Republicans coping with the nation's problems over the next few years, many more people approve of the Democrats than the Republicans, and yet most people plan to vote for a Republican in the upcoming election. You'll notice that the polls weren't this weird in 2006, when people simply preferred Democrats and planned to vote for them.

But they were this weird in 1994. In fact, they were arguably weirder, as Republicans were only up by two percentage points in the "who will you vote for" category, but ended up stomping the Democrats in the actual election. It's a reminder that voter preferences don't matter as much as the preferences of the people who actually turn out to vote. A new Third Way report makes a similar point, estimating that the likely electorate in the midterm is different enough from 2008 that if Democrats simply match Obama's performance among the various groups (i.e., win 20 percent of self-described conservatives and 60 percent of moderates and 89 percent of liberals), they'll still get destroyed, as there appear to be more conservatives and fewer liberals voting this year.

Bottom line? It's not clear how much polls matter at this point. The bigger question is whether there's anything left in that vaunted Obama ground game.

By Ezra Klein  | October 5, 2010; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Midterms, Polls  
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Comments

"The bigger question is whether there's anything left in that vaunted Obama ground game."

yes. there is a lot left.
at least in california. people are getting fired up again.
out here in california, democrats know they must do everything they can to get out the vote for jerry brown and barbara boxer.
and we have the possibility of a wonderful woman, beth krom, defeating john campbell. she will bring honesty, intelligence and enormous vitality to congress.
i am sure that at least out here in california, we are fired up and ready to go!
fellow democrats, go back to your headquarters, and start working again!!!!
:-)
get out the vote!!!!!

Posted by: jkaren | October 5, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

three women in the supreme court,
at this moment, brown and boxer are ahead in the polls....
good things continue to happen in the world,
despite the fear, setbacks and struggle.
but we must all continue to do the work.

Posted by: jkaren | October 5, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

beth krom, running against john campbell, made a funny comment last night...
she said, "meg whitman is not beholden to special interests, she IS a special interest!"


( meg whitman's financial supporters represent some of the most ultra-conservative leaders in the california business community.
california, in all of its physical, cultural and innovative splendor, cannot fall into these hands.
we just cant let that happen.)


Posted by: jkaren | October 5, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Where exactly does this idea of the 'vaunted' ground game come from?

The man has only won 1 contested election.

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 5, 2010 10:35 AM | Report abuse

If you live in a state or district where there's any chance that a Dem legislator might lose and you care about liberal policies, I just don't understand how you can not vote this year. While there was certainly a time in my life when I thought differently, the last decade should have taught everyone that there are definitely differences in how the parties govern when they are in charge.

Posted by: MosBen | October 5, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I would love, love to see an explanation as to why the pollster who conducts the Washington Post poll so drastically changed his sample from the month before. It went from a 31/25/39 D/R/I split to a 33/23/29 split for this poll in their sample of adults and for registered voters they went from a 31/26/37 split to a 34/25/37 D/R/i split.

It is impossible to gauge anything from month to month when the samples drastically change for absolutely no reason. Moreover, both Gallup and Rasmussen both show that the party affiliation gap at the lowest level it has been in quite a long time, yet amongst Adults this poll has a 10% lead for Dems and a 9% point lead for RV. Any honest person will admit that the 9% sample advantage is completely bogus.


As for Meg Whitman and special interests, get back to me when the unions don't have Jerry Brown in their back pocket. At least corporations create jobs.

Posted by: Bob65 | October 5, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

"If you live in a state or district where there's any chance that a Dem legislator might lose and you care about liberal policies, I just don't understand how you can not vote this year. While there was certainly a time in my life when I thought differently, the last decade should have taught everyone that there are definitely differences in how the parties govern when they are in charge.

Posted by: MosBen"

hear, hear!!!
dems must continue to do the work!

be the change you wish to see in the world!

Posted by: jkaren | October 5, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

Note that the top question is a sample of "likely voters", but the other questions are of "registered voters". So what that says is that Americans in general today mildly favor the Democrats, and think their representative is doing an okay job. But many of them aren't showing up because they are disappointed that more hasn't been accomplished, or else they just aren't paying attention enough to care what happens in a midterm. Therefore, they're going to hand the election to the party they like less because either a) they bizarrely think it would send some sort of "message" somehow, or more likely b) something good is on TV Tuesday nights that they just can't afford to miss for a mere midterm election.

Posted by: vvf2 | October 5, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I don't see the oddity. The generic congressional ballot results are from likely voters. The job approval results are from registered voters. The discrepancy between the results is easily explained by the well-known fact that the pool of likely voters leans Republican while the pool of registered voters lean Democrat. That's not an especially novel result.

Posted by: QuiteAlarmed | October 5, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Good thing Democrats are able to run nationally on promises to do ... um, nothing ... for the next two years. That's our slogan, right? "Nothing is better than Republicans...literally." I wonder why voters aren't embracing the "nothing" campaign....

Posted by: stonedone | October 5, 2010 10:50 AM | Report abuse

"As for Meg Whitman and special interests, get back to me when the unions don't have Jerry Brown in their back pocket. At least corporations create jobs."


http://www.jerrybrown.org/about/endorsements
i will take these endorsements any day of the week, over where meg whitman's endorsements are coming from.
california needs teachers, a stellar education system, firefighters, police, infrastructure and most important, a sense of humanity and respect for all people. a functioning, forward-looking, protected state is what we need.
and what we dont need, is a governor who never bothered to vote in an election. she should have been disqualified from running for governor, if she couldnt find the time or commitment to our democracy, to VOTE.
that tells you mostly everything you would need to know about meg whitman's aspirations for being governor of our amazing state. the jewel that is california, cannot be passed into, or trusted, in her hands.

Posted by: jkaren | October 5, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Part of me thinks that it would be good for the Dems to lose the House b/c then the Repubs would have to actually, you know, have an idea or two. And because their ideas are so terrible, Obama would stand a good chance of making them look like fools. Then again, I suspect a Republican minority would be more likely to play along over the next two years b/c the economy is likely to be in better shape by 2012 and their strategy of saying no to everything and anything won't seem so brilliant then.

Posted by: klautsack | October 5, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

"If you live in a state or district where there's any chance that a Dem legislator might lose and you care about liberal policies, I just don't understand how you can not vote this year."

The probability that he/she loses by one vote is very low. Also, it's possible your legislator might not vote your way on what you see as the most important issues (or for that matter, has a record of voting against you on past issues). It's also possible (particularly outside of the senate) that most issues won't come down to one vote. Voting takes time out of the day that could be spent doing other things.

There are plenty of good reasons not to vote.

If you are worried, find a Republican friend and agree not to vote as you would cancel each other out anyway. And don't worry if the Republican cheats and votes behind your back - it's probably not going to make a difference.

Voting is like buying a lottery ticket. There is a possibility the reward to doing so will be high, but in all probability it will have been a waste.

Posted by: justin84 | October 5, 2010 11:26 AM | Report abuse

justin84: Riker and Ordeshook would be proud.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calculus_of_voting

Posted by: vvf2 | October 5, 2010 11:36 AM | Report abuse

You know what I really can't stand about Obama... he gets up at his "I am great" appearances and immediately starts this "They" vs. "Us" speech. Who is "They" and who is "Us"? Are there two Americas and he only represents one of them? Last time I looked, he is the President of ALL of us. This man is a moron who has no clue about leading a country. All he knows how to do, and he does it well, is to divide and attempt to conquer. How pathetic.

Posted by: mmourges | October 5, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

"i will take these endorsements any day of the week, over where meg whitman's endorsements are coming from.
california needs teachers, a stellar education system, firefighters, police, infrastructure and most important, a sense of humanity and respect for all people. a functioning, forward-looking, protected state is what we need."


But you can't have those because your economy stinks.

Sorry.

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 5, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

"there are plenty of good reasons not to vote."


justin84, i am sure that you are just making a snarky comment, when you say that.
for someone that takes the time to comment as frequently as you do about policy, and political and economic matters, i cant believe that you could mean that.
there is absolutely no justification for not casting a vote.
just because you cast a vote, it is no guarantee that all of your dreams will come true , or that your private agenda is going to be completely fulfilled....of course there are unexpected twists and disappointments on any path in life(apparently, that was the case for many who voted for president obama. he didnt come into office with a wishgranting jewel for his supporters)
but how can you feel that voting doesnt make a difference for the direction of our country?
to say that voting doesnt make a difference...this is simply not true.
even whether you walk out of your house now, or a moment later, makes a difference.....so of course, you put into a position of power, makes a difference at every turn.
i just dont believe that you could mean that in seriousness.


Posted by: jkaren | October 5, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

"But you can't have those because your economy stinks.

Sorry."

well, california is going to get back on track. it may take some time, but we have remarkable resources in our people, our forward looking ideas, our education system, our natural beauty and geological wonders.
california is going to shine again.
even a broken clock is right twice a day, so you may enjoy your cynicism, but california is going to retain her place in the world, and her magnificence as a state.

Posted by: jkaren | October 5, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

." he gets up at his "I am great" appearances and immediately starts this "They" vs. "Us" speech. Who is "They" and who is "Us"? Are there two Americas and he only represents one of them? Last time I looked, he is the President of ALL of us"


in my lifetime, we have never had a president who has tried so hard to be civil, to engage everyone in the debate, to be open to ideas from all sides, to reach out to everyone, and every leader, in our country and in every country.
and i dont ever remember a president more maligned or shunned for his efforts at trying to be President of ALL of us.
the rest of your comments about president obama dont deserve to be addressed.
president obama is a great leader and a great human being, doing a great job in extremely difficult circumstances.
:-) we should all ask for blessings on our president.

Posted by: jkaren | October 5, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

"well, california is going to get back on track. it may take some time, but we have remarkable resources in our people, our forward looking ideas, our education system, our natural beauty and geological wonders.
california is going to shine again.
even a broken clock is right twice a day, so you may enjoy your cynicism, but california is going to retain her place in the world, and her magnificence as a state."


This looks like proof that California doesn't need to legalize pot to get high.


You support a governor who wants to give away the public treasury to union officials. He's done it once before.

And, of course, every time you funnel massive money into education, these union thugs skim it off the top and dump it on stuff like $600 million schools.

Enjoy.

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 5, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

jkaren,

the problem is that its not cynicism (at least for me its not) based on just wanting to hate on California and its policies. Its cynicism based on the fact that its the policies that causes its problems. Imagine if California didn't have Silicon Valley and the income (ie taxes) that comes from that? Your deficits there are horrible and then would be light years worse. Its not bad enough that you all went bankrupt and passed out IOU's last year (did you do it this year yet?). When you get that bad and your credit ratings start to go further south then you really need to take a hard look at yourself and your spending. When you have adminstrators in towns of 40,000 people making six and seven figures while other parts of the state are letting prisoners out because of lack of funding its a horrible mess. I don't mean to harp on you and your state because there's a lot of great things about California but there's also a ton of negative there that is caused by many of the people you stand for.

Posted by: visionbrkr | October 5, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I'm all for mandatory voting. Make it as easy as possible: Make absentee voting available to everyone, make Election Day a national holiday, make every ballot contain a "None of the Above" option, and allow voters to rank candidates by their preferences (allowing voters to vote for 3rd parties without feeling like they're helping the other side). Then levy a small fee on people that don't vote in federal elections. Or hey, make it a small tax break, if you want to do it that way. You could probably have it just be something that people check off on their tax returns to make it easy.

Posted by: MosBen | October 5, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

" I don't mean to harp on you and your state because there's a lot of great things about California but there's also a ton of negative there that is caused by many of the people you stand for."


i agree that there are negatives with some of the people that i am working for.
for instance, i am not the greatest supporter of barbara boxer on all of her policies. i am in strong disagreement with some of the stands she takes.
i understand the criticism of jerry brown, but i feel that he has acquired real clarity and direction now, at this time in his life, and i think he is an innovative thinker and someone with a very deep love for california.
and i trust him.
i am working hard for the boxer campaign and the brown campaign, because i am pragmatic, and i will do whatever i can, in my own small way, to make sure that fiorina and whitman do not win the election.
my rule of thumb, is that when i wake up the morning after an election, i wont say to myself, "maybe i could have done something more, as one person, to change things."
i think that one person can change the world. look at george w bush. even one small person like me, can change the world.
so that is why i will work for a candidate who has negatives....because i couldnt stand by and let someone else, who i disapprove of so much, have a chance to win.

be the change you wish to see in the world:-)
that is all that any of us can do, big or small.
good people cannot stand by, and do nothing.

Posted by: jkaren | October 5, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

The government is so far gone and corrupt it would take lots of RALLIES and revolts to turn this around.
It could very well be Gods punishment because our government has become so complacent and is trying to take Gods name out of everything and we the people have sit back and allowed it to happen.
It seems that now a days that most all politicians have become evil manipulative greedy and corrupt. Think about it, every time you turn around the past several years some elected official is on the news caught up in some kind of scandal. This is all by design and I am afraid we haven't seen anything yet.
It is so obvious when hard working folks like us have lost our jobs through no fault of our own, then our credit becomes ruined for life, but yet the government can hand over billions of dollars to banks, wall street, and the big automakers cause they all are at FAULT for screwing up. And do you think their credit and persona is ruined for life? I guess not since you see them on t.v. ads intentionally rubbing in our faces about how good they have it NOW. This alone should be enough to never trust THE REPUBLICAN PARTY in our government.

We have been funding a 9 year war, and when we finally leave Afghanistan do you honestly think they will have caught Bin Laden? No! Do you think the Taliban will do what they always did in their countries? Yes! Do you think when the Taliban start to fight their own government without us there that they will blame the United States and start a war with us? Most certainly. Why in the hell are we giving Afghanistan 7.5 billion dollars of American tax paying money over 5 years? I don't want the money I worked for going to a back stabbing foreign country...
Why are we sending money to Greece and building schools in other countries when we need to help our own first? Nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or in The Constitution does it say we must save the world? It does say that that the people of this country have an obligation to change the government if it is not working.
Just heard that our government just spent 6 million dollars on how ants communicate yesterday money that could have given all the 99ers who states are over 7.5 percent a weeks salary of 2 to 3 hundred.
Mitch mcconnell easily pushed a REPUBLICAN bill through spending 350 million dollars to study what kind of effects of methane gas coming off cow crap patties has on the atmosphere. I wonder how many 99ers could have used this money as desperate emergency aid?

What is wrong with this picture?

All our politicians should be brought on charges of treason, they really don’t care about the people in the GOOD O’ USA ANYMORE!


Posted by: bugsy166 | October 5, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

The government is so far gone and corrupt it would take lots of RALLIES and revolts to turn this around.
It could very well be Gods punishment because our government has become so complacent and is trying to take Gods name out of everything and we the people have sit back and allowed it to happen.
It seems that now a days that most all politicians have become evil manipulative greedy and corrupt. Think about it, every time you turn around the past several years some elected official is on the news caught up in some kind of scandal. This is all by design and I am afraid we haven't seen anything yet.
It is so obvious when hard working folks like us have lost our jobs through no fault of our own, then our credit becomes ruined for life, but yet the government can hand over billions of dollars to banks, wall street, and the big automakers cause they all are at FAULT for screwing up. And do you think their credit and persona is ruined for life? I guess not since you see them on t.v. ads intentionally rubbing in our faces about how good they have it NOW. This alone should be enough to never trust THE REPUBLICAN PARTY in our government.

We have been funding a 9 year war, and when we finally leave Afghanistan do you honestly think they will have caught Bin Laden? No! Do you think the Taliban will do what they always did in their countries? Yes! Do you think when the Taliban start to fight their own government without us there that they will blame the United States and start a war with us? Most certainly. Why in the hell are we giving Afghanistan 7.5 billion dollars of American tax paying money over 5 years? I don't want the money I worked for going to a back stabbing foreign country...
Why are we sending money to Greece and building schools in other countries when we need to help our own first? Nowhere in the Declaration of Independence or in The Constitution does it say we must save the world? It does say that that the people of this country have an obligation to change the government if it is not working.
Just heard that our government just spent 6 million dollars on how ants communicate yesterday money that could have given all the 99ers who states are over 7.5 percent a weeks salary of 2 to 3 hundred.
Mitch mcconnell easily pushed a REPUBLICAN bill through spending 350 million dollars to study what kind of effects of methane gas coming off cow crap patties has on the atmosphere. I wonder how many 99ers could have used this money as desperate emergency aid?

What is wrong with this picture?

All our politicians should be brought on charges of treason, they really don’t care about the people in the GOOD O’ USA ANYMORE!


Posted by: bugsy166 | October 5, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"I'm all for mandatory voting. Make it as easy as possible: Make absentee voting available to everyone, make Election Day a national holiday, make every ballot contain a "None of the Above" option, and allow voters to rank candidates by their preferences (allowing voters to vote for 3rd parties without feeling like they're helping the other side). Then levy a small fee on people that don't vote in federal elections. Or hey, make it a small tax break, if you want to do it that way. You could probably have it just be something that people check off on their tax returns to make it easy. "

Mandatory voting is fine as long as its appropriately restricted to those who have earned it.

Posted by: krazen1211 | October 5, 2010 1:38 PM | Report abuse

The Democratic/Union party lost their integrity in the very beginning with the
GM bailout, then ObamaCare Disaster.
Democrats and Unions are Parasites--sucking the blood out of Taxpayers and corporations.
Fat-Cat, Greedy Uneducated Union bosses wouldn't even have a job if it weren't for the corporations.
Corporations are producers: they create jobs, pay salaries, pay benefits, pay for their employee's continuing education, and donate Heavily to charity, to local causes, the Arts, Education, etc.
Yet, liberals and unions continue to bash corporations. Unbelievable.

Posted by: ohioan | October 5, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

"If you are worried, find a Republican friend and agree not to vote as you would cancel each other out anyway. And don't worry if the Republican cheats and votes behind your back - it's probably not going to make a difference."

Three words. Ralph. Nader. 2000.


"Voting is like buying a lottery ticket. There is a possibility the reward to doing so will be high, but in all probability it will have been a waste."

That's the brain talking, not the heart. The politicians know that getting people to vote is mostly heart. Pres. Obama's elite prep school/Ivy League side has been dominant most of the past two years. Maybe he's banking the 'heart and soul' stuff for 2012.

Posted by: tuber | October 5, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

@ohioan: "Corporations are producers: they create jobs, pay salaries, pay benefits, pay for their employee's continuing education, and donate Heavily to charity, to local causes, the Arts, Education, etc."

The people can vote politicians out of office.

Corporations are often accountable to no one.

That's the difference.

Posted by: tuber | October 5, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

"justin84, i am sure that you are just making a snarky comment, when you say that.
for someone that takes the time to comment as frequently as you do about policy, and political and economic matters, i cant believe that you could mean that.
there is absolutely no justification for not casting a vote."

No snark here jkaren. Just an observation.

Go take a look at vvf2's link. If your 'D' is low, it doesn't make sense to vote. Basically, voting makes sense if it makes you feel good. If it doesn't make you feel good, why bother?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calculus_of_voting

The likelihood of any particular individual's vote mattering is very close to zero. Voting isn't costless.

"to say that voting doesnt make a difference...this is simply not true.
even whether you walk out of your house now, or a moment later, makes a difference.....so of course, [who*] you put into a position of power, makes a difference at every turn."

*presuming you meant to have a who in here

Except you don't directly put a person into power, at least not the singular you. In the vast majority of cases, your vote simply does not change the outcome. It is watered down by thousands upon thousands of other votes.

"I'm all for mandatory voting. Make it as easy as possible: Make absentee voting available to everyone, make Election Day a national holiday, make every ballot contain a "None of the Above" option, and allow voters to rank candidates by their preferences (allowing voters to vote for 3rd parties without feeling like they're helping the other side). Then levy a small fee on people that don't vote in federal elections. Or hey, make it a small tax break, if you want to do it that way. You could probably have it just be something that people check off on their tax returns to make it easy."

MosBen,

In other words, you want to force people to vote who would prefer not to, and either take their money or toss them in the hoosegow if they refuse. At the same time, the typical vote has even less value as it is watered down further. No thanks.

Posted by: justin84 | October 5, 2010 2:15 PM | Report abuse

"Three words. Ralph. Nader. 2000."

Would one vote have made a difference here? Now, had Nader decided not to run at all, that would have been a different story. That would have made a difference. One Nader voter having changed her mind and going for Gore would not have changed history.

"The people can vote politicians out of office."

How often is the typical incumbent voted out? Occasionally, but not often.

"Corporations are often accountable to no one."

But they can't force you to invest in them, work for them or buy their product.

Posted by: justin84 | October 5, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

"But they can't force you to invest in them, work for them or buy their product."

In a world with perfect competition and information, all true.

In the real world, well, we all know better.

Posted by: tuber | October 5, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

"Except you don't directly put a person into power, at least not the singular you. In the vast majority of cases, your vote simply does not change the outcome. It is watered down by thousands upon thousands of other votes."

justin,

(i went to "calculous of voting" on wikipedia, but it must have been something different.)
you said, your vote becomes one and one of those "watered down" thousands of votes.
so what?
it is the "one" vote here, and the next vote....and the next...that creates the sea-change....the direction.
it is the same thing with snowflakes.
every single snowflake is insignificant ( perhaps, in a manner of speaking) but together, they create blizzards, artesian wells, rivers, etc)
the same with almost every single thing.
it is the one that creates the many.
to say that your vote is just a singular voice....it is...until it becomes one of many. then, it becomes a collective voice, and creates a phase-transition....a change.
i think you are making some sort of theoretical argument.
we get thousands and thousands of votes, by each of us, casting a vote.
if everyone decides to stay home, then what happens?
the people who believe that their vote matters, go out and vote, and their person wins the election.
so truthfully, i dont know what you are talking about.
i dont understand how you can think that one doesnt turn into many, and many cant make a difference.
one tree stands alone...many make a forest.
one coral would be washed away (perhaps) but many create a reef.
it takes many voices to make a chorus. if everyone stayed home, there would be no music.
if no-one voted, if no-one felt their voice mattered, i cant imagine what would happen. but in this election, if the democrats dont vote, i do know things will get much worse, very quickly.

Posted by: jkaren | October 5, 2010 2:35 PM | Report abuse

justin

but if you would vote republican, and you feel that your vote doesnt matter, and you dont see a reason to exercise your right to vote then, who am i to argue with you:-)
i am on way to volunteer at the local election headquarters.
because i want to register as many democrats and make as many calls as i can.
because it does matter to me.
and though, there is no point of absolute certainty, and i cant predict the future, i am going to put my efforts where i think, in this moment of time, they can do the most good.

Posted by: jkaren | October 5, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

"In a world with perfect competition and information, all true.

In the real world, well, we all know better."

How is it any different in the real world? If you don't like a corporation, you don't have to do business with it.

Posted by: justin84 | October 5, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"How is it any different in the real world? If you don't like a corporation, you don't have to do business with it."

Easy examples.

Say an individual doesn't want to invest in a particular company because it isn't run well or he/she doesn't agree with the company's policies. Problem: one person doesn't have much say which investments the company's mega-pension fund manager invests its money.

Say an individual doesn't agree with the policies of an agribusiness that supplies basic ingredients to food manufacturers. Problem: which foods on the grocery store shelves contain ingredients from this producer?

Say an individual is concerned about the external costs associated with electricity from coal burning generators. Problem: utilities will not change their power generating plant based on one person's 'input' and going off the grid by installing photovoltaic panels costs > $40k.

Bottom line: we don't live in a perfect world with perfect competition and perfect information flow.

Posted by: tuber | October 5, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

"you said, your vote becomes one and one of those "watered down" thousands of votes.
so what?"

So what? You end up pushing your candidate's total from 53.801% of the vote to 53.802% (or 46.199% to 48.200%), and you took 45 minutes out of your day to do so.

If you enjoy the experience and feel good about it, then great, don't let me discourage you.

All I am saying here is a person can rationally decide not to vote. One person's vote is unlikely to tip the scales, particularly at the national or state level. That is all.

"it is the "one" vote here, and the next vote....and the next...that creates the sea-change....the direction."

But those other votes aren't your votes. They are other people's votes. Those other votes would occur whether or not you voted.

"but if you would vote republican, and you feel that your vote doesnt matter, and you dont see a reason to exercise your right to vote then, who am i to argue with you"

Don't worry - I wouldn't vote for the vast majority of Republicans.

Posted by: justin84 | October 5, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"Say an individual doesn't want to invest in a particular company because it isn't run well or he/she doesn't agree with the company's policies. Problem: one person doesn't have much say which investments the company's mega-pension fund manager invests its money."

Opt out of the pension plan.

Ask for higher wages in lieu of the pension plan so you can save for yourself.

Find other workers who are also upset, and submit a petition to the fund manager to shift funds around.

Publicize the target company's evil ways with protests and boycotts, and if it is truly doing something awful the bad news might force the stock price down and the pension fund manager will divest on his own accord.

Find another job.

Start your own business.

"Say an individual doesn't agree with the policies of an agribusiness that supplies basic ingredients to food manufacturers. Problem: which foods on the grocery store shelves contain ingredients from this producer?"

Call the companies who produce the products you wish to purchase and ask. If they refuse to tell you, don't buy those products.

Start a consumers association, find like minded people to join, and complie this data to help consumers.

Start a consumers association, find like minded people to join, and offer to certify for food producers that their products meet certain standards or only receive inputs from approved suppliers - if they do, a certain segment of consumers will be happy to buy their products.

Call local media and draw attention to the offensive practice.

Buy whole foods.

Buy food from known local producers.

"Say an individual is concerned about the external costs associated with electricity from coal burning generators. Problem: utilities will not change their power generating plant based on one person's 'input' and going off the grid by installing photovoltaic panels costs > $40k."

Tell other customers about the problem. Get a bunch of customers on board and tell the company you want them to do something about their carbon emissions.

Buy carbon offsets.

Use less energy.

Find another provider.

Move.

Some of these solutions sound tough, but if you are unwilling to take these actions then I don't see how the problem can be that serious. You might wish to spread the cost of dealing with things which annoy you amongst a bunch of people, and that's fine by me as long as they agree to share in the cost.

In any case, what are the odds that the current political system fixes these problems for you?

Corporations do all sorts of things which offend people. We still generate a whole lot of carbon emissions. Food producers often do a whole lot of nasty things in the process of producing food.

Posted by: justin84 | October 5, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

The problem in CA, the main ones, is unemployment and its debt.
small buisneses and corporations creates the kind of jobs that CA needs it.
We do not want Gov. jobs in CA as it translates cost to CA and all of us.
Second; Debt issue.
major cause of debt almost 60 billions which need to be funded to Gov. employee pension.
Do you think the pension plan needs to be changed and dealt with?
Who do you think will address the above two issues better? Whitman or Brown?
look at some grounds and facts;
Brown Never had private job. Whitman never had Gov. job.
The pension; Gov. employees"UNIONS" so far spent millions to support Brown! Not a single $ to Whitman!
I want you be honest to yourself!!
who is more productive and effective: Gov. employees or non Gov. one?
We all should be familiar with both them and dealt with both spectrum.
You be the judge!!

Posted by: unionee | October 5, 2010 8:41 PM | Report abuse

I think Ezra you did a great job by putting those simplified bars.
I think its a good comparisons. The only thing may be a new playing factor is people are scared and confused more.
Look at the unemployment rate close to 10% way more than previous midterm elections. The poverty rate is one of the highest in history.
Just recently our insurance health insurance premium went up at least 15% in the backdrop of Obamacare!!
I wounder do we live in extreme form of landmines of beuracracy and letigenicity!?
With this Finreg will any small and community bank survive?
What do you think Does 10000 pages of healthcare so called policies and rules going to help or hurt?
The same duestion to "Finreg"?
How a small community bank can afford to absorb the cost of 4 to 5 employees just for "finreg" compliance?
Who will pay these costs, papers after papers..

Posted by: unionee | October 5, 2010 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Know Just Who You and Your Family are Voting For and What The Candidate Will Do To Your Lives!

TRAINED TO RULE AMERICA http://www.truth-it.net/trained_to_rule.html

TRAINED TO RULE. THE CFR
'The main purpose of the Council on Foreign Relations is promoting the disarmament of U.S. sovereignty and national independence and submergence into an all powerful, One World Government.'
- Admiral Chester Ward, former CFR member and Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy
The Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) conspiracy has infiltrated all elements of American society.
TRAINED TO RULE. DOES YOUR VOTE COUNT AT ALL?
Planning to vote for one of these people? Great. just understand that they're all members of the CFR, which is telling them to work toward weakening your freedom in the name of a New World Order. Your vote really means zippo (unless you vote for someone other than a Republican or Democrat).
Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Jim Gilmore, Newt Gingrich, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, Bill Richardson

TRAINED TO RULE. BILDERBERG
Another important entity that reigns over those who are trained to rule by the CFR is the Bilderberg Society.

Re: The reasons why, we must vote out, Establishment Government Representatives, whether they are Left or Right - Incumbent or Candidate on these Congressional Elections on November 02, 2010! Make sure you have your best Savoy computer Security at all Computer Polls, Best Security at Ballot Boxes!

Make sure your candidates, do not belong to these Global Elitist, Organizations: Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission, Council on Foreign Relations, Club of Rome, Skull and Bones, Canadian Council of Chief Executives,
Harvard Elite Players, Goldman Sachs, International Monetary Fund, The United Nations, World Health Organization, World Trade Organization.

Short 2 minute News Clip: http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2824363/the_obama_¬deception_¬extra_part¬_2/ -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-CrNlilZho&feature=player_embedded
End Game Complete Video

Posted by: PaulRevere4 | October 5, 2010 10:03 PM | Report abuse

." One person's vote is unlikely to tip the scales,"

how do you figure that?
it is one person's vote that always tips the scales.

just as it is one degree of heat that changes everything for the frog in the bucket of hot water.

it is the last straw, that decides votes, starts wars, causes changes to occur, that affect everything.

................and a separate issue:
how do you feel moved to complain about anything in political life, if you dont vote?
you take no responsibility to change anything, but you are willing to criticize, nonetheless???
we have a candidate out here for you, in california....
meg whitman!!!!!!!!

Posted by: jkaren | October 6, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

@justin84

All very good but your very long laundry list of suggestions makes the point. Corporations are not nearly as accountable to individuals as elected officials. Not even close.

Posted by: tuber | October 6, 2010 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"how do you figure that?
it is one person's vote that always tips the scales."

I suppose we'll have to agree to disagree here, but something like 99.99% of all races/issues are not decided by one vote.

Voting doesn't even make a difference in all cases where a race/issue is decided by one vote.

If you fail to vote and your preferred candidate wins by one, your extra vote wouldn't have changed the outcome, only the margin. Likewise, if you do vote and your candidate loses by one vote, your vote still didn't make a difference - you could have stayed home, same outcome.

"how do you feel moved to complain about anything in political life, if you dont vote?"

Did I ever say I didn't? All I am saying is one can rationally decide voting isn't worth the effort. Maybe it's more apparent to people who aren't Democrats or Republicans?

What moves you to complain about politicians you cast a vote in favor of?

Posted by: justin84 | October 6, 2010 12:05 PM | Report abuse

"All very good but your very long laundry list of suggestions makes the point. Corporations are not nearly as accountable to individuals as elected officials. Not even close."

Yeah, elected officials are really held accountable in ways corporations aren't. That's why there is always tons of fresh blood in Congress and why approval ratings for Congress are always so high.

Take George W. Bush. He launched several wars that didn't need to be fought, got hundreds of thousands of people killed in the process and probably created a whole new generation of terrorists which will be pestering us for decades. I will have to pay a portion of the bill for that atrocity or be put in jail or potentially killed if I fight being put in jail.

Or consider that accountablity can backfire. Candidate Christine O'Donnell is a result of other voters wanting 'accountablility'. My preferencne is for Christine to have zero say in how I live my life, don't you? The probability of a President Palin in 2013 isn't zero. Voters would thus have held Barack Obama 'accountable', but what good does that do anyone? It's a trade between Obamacare and a potential shooting war with Iran.

Compare that to being miffed about some chemical in food. It's a vastly different problem. While annoying, if it's that important to you, you can take action to avoid that chemical.

The government already is failing to fix this problem, by the way - your accountable government has approved the chemical for your consumption. If you want something done, depending on the government to do it is going to leave you disappointed more often than not.

Posted by: justin84 | October 6, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

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