New Poll: 90 Million Americans Won’t Vote, But If They Would, Most Would Vote For Obama

In a new nationwide poll released today, of the estimated 90 million people not expected to vote in the 2012 Presidential Election, President Obama is favored over Mitt Romney by a 2-1 margin. This astounding number of people – whose voices will not be heard – could make for an extremely close election, coming down to a handful of swing states up for grabs this fall. Historically, we have seen an alarming continuing trend that, for whatever reasons, approximately 40% of eligible American voters simply fail to cast a ballot for who they want to serve as their president and commander-in-chief.

What is wrong with these people? Is it that they are unpatriotic…or are there other troubling reasons for their apathy that we need to address. Indeed, some of these people are likely tuned out and turned off to all political discourse. The bitterness and acrimony of heated campaigns (like this one already is) gives a lot of people a convenient excuse. Some just lead such busy, hectic lives that voting is seen as just another chore they don’t have time for. Some may actually feel that their vote doesn’t really count. Some just can’t make up their mind, so stay at home; or worse, don’t like any of the candidates so…”screw them all.” The curent Republican efforts to surpress the vote through all manner of onerous requirements like the Pennsylvania Photo I.D. law I just heard was upheld by a judge…even though there was/is no evidence of the voter fraud the law was meant to stop…is a further example, but not of voter apathy. Rather it is a cynical attempt at sheer disenfranchisement, when we need more participation, not less. Especially in light of the impact of Citizens United SuperPAC money (Koch Brothers, Sheldon Edelson, etc.) trying to buy the election.

Some Americans just do not like any politicians. I am reminded of a humorous anecdote I once heard (off a politican comedy album) from seven-term Democratic Congressman Brooks Hays of Arkansas (1943-1959). Hays was well known as quite a character, with a wry sense of humor, prone to recounting rural down-home stories to make a point. It seems a young politician was running for some office or other (I heard this story fifty-years ago, so it may not be exact). He was campaigning in a small Southern town and came upon an old woman. He introduced himself and asked for her vote. She took a look at the young man and said tersely: “Vote? I never vote, it only encourages ‘em.”

While we may crack a smile at a comment like that, the overall problem is simply not funny.  Moreover, given the stakes in this election…a choice between Obama/Biden and Abraham Lincoln’s “government of the people, by the people, for the people” or the Romney/Ryan vision of an America “of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations;” the very future of our representative democracy may be at stake. I know in many, many other countries, the right to vote is non-existent or so corrupted as to be so judged. Do we really want to see our America lapse into that state, an “Oligarchy?” Part of the problem activists like the readers at this site have is that most people in America do not know the literal definition of the word…let alone what one would mean for their/our future as a free people.