By Andy Weddington
Tuesday, 18 October 2011
"Are you better off than you were four years ago?" Ronald Reagan
This morning, a beauty of a day, for about an hour and a half, I ran errands patronizing a handful of shops in our small desert oasis.
During the short drive to the first stop I decided to conduct an unscientific poll--that is, to ask any stranger I encountered, after an ice-breaking pleasantry (e.g. "Good morning. Nice day. How are you?"), a simple question: "So, will you vote for Obama again?" (Note the subtle wording of assumption in the query).
I, clad in jeans, polo shirt, and a ballcap, was a non-threatening equal opportunity pollster caring not about obvious discriminators race, gender, age. I did not ask names, political party affiliation, or any other type of personal information. The aim--anonymous responses to a simple question. Provided they looked old enough to vote, I asked. Only a few opted not to answer, but they declined politely. Ages ranged from early 20s to 80s. About an equal mix of males and females. The majority white. Whatever their response, I did not pursue.
Consider double space different responders. Here's what I heard...
"Who said I voted for him the first time?" (this person listened carefully to the question)
"Obama's the president?" (detected a bit of sarcasm)
"Are you kidding me?" (took that as a "no")
"I just don't know. He seems to be trying but doesn't have much to show for nearly three years."
"Geez, what a question. He's a clown. I didn't vote for him last time."
"Is that a trick question? No!"
"I vote democrat. Yes." (no kidding, blonde female)
"I'm not going to answer that."
"He's an idiot."
"I vote we ship him back to Kenya."
"I hate to admit voting for him. What a disaster. Not again."
"I doubt it."
"It depends upon the other candidates."
"Too bad he can't lead as well as he talks. Didn't last time and won't next time."
"Obama couldn't lead three blind mice." (detected a little anger)
"No. Are you going to tell him my answer?" (I promised not to)
"It's been a tough couple of years. I supported him, but no more."
"I'd like to vote for him--impeaching him."
"Sorry, I keep my politics private."
"No. He's incompetent."
"He fooled me. Shame on me."
I did not know any of these people. And there was no reason for any of them to know me. Surely their willingness to answer the simple question stemmed from the security of anonymity and that I did not have a recorder or camera crew.
Admittedly, my poll was a hasty idea. And, though responders were selected at random, a clever analyst could undoubtedly find all sorts of flaws with the question and sampling of folk. But no matter. What I got was a raw taste of public sentiment. From that random sampling, it's pretty clear Mr. Obama's once ethereal image is no more.
Conclusion: Mr. Obama can raise all the green he wants. He can try to split black and white. He can talk and talk and talk until he's blue in the face. Even red. But if the sentiments of this small Southern California high desert community are representative, Mr. Obama is done.
Now, where's the fork?
A fun morning. Perhaps more impromptu polls to come. Maybe. Suggestions for questions welcome!