Leadership

Name the key factor driving your voting decision

We're fortunate to live in a country where we get to help decide who are leaders are going to be. It's not always any easy choice, and you don't always get the best candidates to choose from. What are the key factors that help you decide who to vote for?

We're fortunate to live in a country where we get to help decide who our leaders are going to be. It's not always any easy choice, and you don't always get the best candidates to choose from. What are the key factors that help you decide who to vote for?

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Most of the people on the planet don't get to decide who their leaders are going to be. The decisions are made for them. Even though the process is reasonably sloppy in America, we do get some semblance of a say. Tuesday November 4 is yet another one of those days where we have to decide who our leader is going to be for the next four years.

Talk to ten different people, and you'll get ten different answers about who they're voting for and why. Some people are driven by emotion. Others because they just don't like one candidate or another. Most people are driven by issues, although the exact issue and importance will vary from person to person.

Jason Hiner has already pointed out how the candidates stand on tech issues. He also asked who you were planning to vote for. Being Decision Central and focusing on the reasons why we do some of the things we do, I thought it would be interesting to see what the key issues that drive your voting decisions are.

Vote early and vote often

Below I've listed some of the key issues of the day. Pick your top issue and then let me know in the discussion how important those issues are compared to the others.

Go vote for real

If you're not in a state that allows early voting, make sure you get out and hit the polls early.  (That is, unless you're voting for the other guy, in which case wait until Wednesday when the polls are less busy.)

For those of you lucky TR members who are overseas, say a little prayer for us here in the States. Things will probably be just as ugly after tomorrow, if not more so.

148 comments
LarryBoy2
LarryBoy2

Although your poll only lets me choose 1, I actually have more than 1 key factor: Economic policy (per NTU, 1 of the 2 major candidates' proposals amounts to more than 3x the spending increases of the other; I'll leave you to guess which 1); abortion (in spite of some people's weak attempts to justify someone who is pro-life voting for the blatantly pro-choice candidate, there is only 1 clear choice in this area); and tax policy (taxing the rich so you can "spread the wealth" is straight from Karl Marx's playbook, and socialism has failed everywhere it has been tried). That doesn't even touch the trust issue, which has also been a factor for me in the previous 2 presidential elections, and is an even bigger factor in this one. In my view, although I did not vote for him in the primary, there is only 1 viable choice, even though many of his other policies are less than palatable to me. Am I happy about that? Not really, but it's a choice of the lesser of 2 evils, and those who do not make their voices heard at the ballot box have no right to complain.

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

Why limit yourself to the only two that the popular press covers? I didn't. Will my vote make a difference? No. But it's not a vote for the lesser of two evils either. If one the two popular candidates foul things up, as I think they will, I won't have to think that it's my vote that helped to put them there.

LarryBoy2
LarryBoy2

My perspective is that voting for someone who doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of actually being elected is no different than not voting at all, which is why I will never waste time voting for any 3rd party candidate, no matter how bad both major party candidates are.

jdclyde
jdclyde

Everyone knew it would go for NoBama even before McCain pulled out, but only 12% reported and they have already called the state? President - General November 04, 2008 - 09:42PM ET Michigan - 726 of 5646 Precincts Reporting - 13% Name Votes Obama , 281,027 McCain , 275,085 Nader , 3,939 Barr , 2,878 Baldwin , 1,885 McKinney , 1,027

LarryBoy2
LarryBoy2

I've never seen a "straight party" ballot, but then I went from punch ticket ballots to paper & pen ballots, neither of which allows for a "straight party" option. Good point. Even though I vote predominantly for candidates from a single party, for reasons noted in other comments, I do as much research as I can to make an informed choice. Besides, where I live, some of the races don't have any party affiliated candidates, so a "straight party" vote would be meaningless.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]"Straight Party" is an option on the ballot in South Carolina.[/i] I didn't understand that... In that case I agree... I mean don't they think the people can at least go down the list and pick out the Ds and Rs themselves if that's they want? Oh, and thanks for the coffee :)

jdclyde
jdclyde

Easy when you are paying a homeless dude a pack of smokes to vote for the second option. Remember all the complains with the butterfly ballot in Florida? The Democrat designed form was not standard, but it allowed for larger print for an elderly population that might have a hard time seeing small print. Bucannon was the second in order because of the layout, and even he admits that he never should have gotten as many votes as he did. Now, how do you think that could happen? hmmmm.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...in Illinois. I don't remember exactly why and how it got challenged, but it did get thrown out relatively recently (I want to say either Clinton's 2nd term or W's 1st). I remember growing up in the city and going to the polls with my mother; people were in and out of the polls in like 5 minutes. Get ballot. Punch DEMOCRAT STRAIGHT PARTY. Give evil eye to Republican election judge. Hand in ballot. Made voting 2 or 3 times pretty easy and time effective! ;)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

"Straight Party" is an option on the ballot in South Carolina. The ignorant, lazy, rushed, fanatical, or just plain stupid voter can vote with four touches of the screen using this option: Press the preferred "Straight Party" button, Next, Review, Finish. My point was not party affiliation (although you could probably derive affiliation by the straight party votes), but that such a high percentage voted straight party. In other SC counties, the percentage of straight party voters was even higher! Spartanburg - 50.3% (http://www.enr-scvotes.org/SC/Spartanburg/8604/13523/en/summary.html) Bamberg - 61% (http://www.enr-scvotes.org/SC/Bamberg/8567/13439/en/summary.html) To determine the percentage, find the total ballots cast at the top of the page. Under the first heading in the official results?[b]Straight Party[/b]?note the total number of ballots cast. Divide the total number of straight party ballots cast by the total ballots cast, then multiply by 100 to obtain the percentage. ;) And Tony? Have another cup of coffee! :) Edit: Sorry, Tony, I somehow jumped a branch. Maybe I should get another cuppa too? :p

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

[i]In Ohio there are over THREE HUNDRED different departments! Why are beauticians and barbers not covered by the same department, and save the taxpayers 100 million a year. Why are airports, watercraft, railroads and highways not all under "Transportation" saving over 2 billion? [/i] The SC Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (http://www.llr.state.sc.us/) controls most professional licensing, OSHA, and equipment certification for the state. Each occupation has a licensing board (http://www.llr.state.sc.us/pol.asp), but they are all under the control of LLR. Other executive departments have similar functions in their areas of expertise. For example, the Agriculture department controls produce, livestock, and weights and measures licensing. It's not perfect, but it beats having individual departments for each occupation!

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

but I can't see where it links the party affiliation of a voter to an actual vote.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

why does this POSITION even exist??? In Ohio there are over THREE HUNDRED different departments! Why are beauticians and barbers not covered by the same department, and save the taxpayers 100 million a year. Why are airports, watercraft, railroads and highways not all under "Transportation" saving over 2 billion? the $400 toilet seat gets the news, but most of the money our government wastes is because of redundancy.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]Of 110,227 votes cast in my county, 46,438 (just over 42%) were straight party.[/i]

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I pay very close attention to the town and county races, particularly mayor, city and county council, and school board. Those people are much more likely to affect my day-to-day life and livelihood. For many of these positions, the true question should be "Why is this an elected office?" In SC, we elect the Commissioner of Agriculture, the Superintendent of Education, and the Adjutant General (Commander of the State National Guard). Hell, we even elect both a Comptroller [u]and[/u] a Treasurer. (http://www.sciway.net/gov/state_off.html) What do I (or most other voters) know about what it takes to be good at these jobs? Aside from Governor and Lt Governor, these positions should be appointed. The only reason for any of these offices to be elected and not appointed is to give the governor the ability to say "Not my fault."

DelbertPGH
DelbertPGH

You watch the elections for president and governor pretty closely, I'm sure. If not much else is competing for your attention, your house and senate candidates and the city mayor, too. Sometimes you have judges or the state secretary of state independently elected, as in Pennsylvania, or sheriff, as in other states; the county executive, the councilmen or aldermen, even coronors, registrars of deeds, and clerks of court are elected. How are you supposed to keep track of these characters through the fog machines of propaganda that each party starts up at the beginning of each election season? I suppose that if I saw a headline, "Joe Hurbuckle, Candidate for State Auditor General Job, Found in Bathtub with Partially Devoured Body of Male Prostitute," then I would say to myself, "Hurbuckle, you have just lost my vote." But otherwise, I would have no idea how to vote for the auditor general. The problem with leaving all these don't-know-don't-care positions blank on your ballot is that Mr. Hurbuckle could then get three dozen of his closest retainers to create a majority. "McCain wins county vote for President, 4900 to 3720; for auditor general, Hurbuckle wins, 36 to 12." Voting the party line is not very satisfactory, either. What would be?

Jessie
Jessie

Short list: Not enough spankings when they were kids - and nobody ever made them think for themselves.

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

I never wondered how many people voted straight party ticket. That's a bit of an eye-opener and is going to make me think a bit. First thought? WTF is WRONG with people?

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Of 110,227 votes cast in my county, 46,438 (just over 42%) were straight party. There is no way that the best possible choices for all the offices offered were all from the same party...none. Particularly considering that several contests were non-partisan. Why do people vote like this? Are they lazy? Morons? Ill-informed? Fanatics? All of the above? Link: http://www.enr-scvotes.org/SC/Lexington/8594/13322/en/summary.html

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

My guy got about that as well. Actually, I got dirty looks from a couple of people. I stepped up to the booth, waited a second, and said "Hey, where's 'None of the Above'?" A few other people laughed, and I heard an "Amen, brother," too. Was it disrespect or irreverence? I think it was irreverence, but then I'm biased. :D

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

It's not my fault that he didn't get more. ;)

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Too many people not wanting to "waste" their votes. Not voting at all is a wasted vote. Voting only for somebody who has a chance of winning by picking the candidate you like best, even if he does not reflect your views is (to me) a stupid vote that only perpetuates the status quo.

LarryBoy2
LarryBoy2

I agree w/ Scummy. Case in point: Ohio 2nd Congressional District pitted incumbent Schmidt (R) against Wulsin (D) & Krikorian (I). Schmidt was elected, but Krikorian took nearly 18% of the vote. That's when voting 3rd party makes a statement. In the presidential election, however, all of the 3rd party candidates were little more than gnats, figuratively speaking, of course. They garnered so few votes between the lot of them that it amounted to not even 1.25% of the total, rendering the "statement" effectively meaningless in the grand scheme.

jmgarvin
jmgarvin

Americans are sick to death of both the D's and the R's...We need a few L's and a few I's maybe even a G or two.

Jellimonsta
Jellimonsta

voting 3rd party in large numbers shows a relative disdain for the choices of major candidates/ parties presented.

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

You are exactly right. Check the street prices of Oxy compared to the street prices of marijuana. Then tell me which one is being more heavily abused. In high school and college I will say that I smoked my fair share of left haded cigarettes. I've also had a few broken bones and received prescriptions for oxy a few times in my life. After being on Oxy for a month my 1st week cutting myself off was horrible. I had constant shaking in my hands, slight paranoia and extreme nervousness. I could tell it was a slight physical addiction and I did not like it. In retrospect marijuana would have been less habit forming and cheaper! I'll take the munchies over dt's anyday.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[i]Not sure what that says about the urban population.[/i] illustrates what's wrong with big government. In these trying economic times, many cities have created new laws and stepped up enforcement of existing ones, not to protect the public, but to increase their operating revenue, and they're making more plea deals with defendants to "save" imprisonment costs ("saved" in order to increase the police budget to deal with the re-offenders!). I have heard more than one city official say something to the effect of "We NEED that income to make our budget", in effect admitting that they DEPEND on law-breakers in order to function! It is only logical to extend that into all aspects of government... that they're willing to accept a certain amount of additional crime or other detrimental behavior as long as it means government can get bigger (they do it in rural areas too, but aren't so crass as to openly admit it). The question that I would think should be on our minds is: How much MORE would THEY be willing to put up with if economic conditions worsen further? A few more minor crimes a week? An extra child abuse case or two a month? An extra murder or rape a year? Is that acceptable? Before you answer, ask yourself: What if the "extra" crime were committed against you or a loved one? Would you feel that the government is doing right by you then?

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

They've screwed it up in California. Without checking my facts I believe I heard this morning that medical marijuana proposals were on 12 state ballots and only one of them failed to pass it. I hope that the Feds find something better to do with their freaking time than to deny sometimes terminally ill patients the relief that they can get from self-medicating with marijuana. I can feel a rant coming on if the Feds mess with it. The MM proposal passed by an overwhelming majority here in Michigan.

Tig2
Tig2

Leave it to you to find one of my soapboxes! Marijuana for the cancer and AIDS patient is one of the things that can control the pain to some extent with a side benefit that they will actually try to eat. Must be SOME horrible drug if it does all that! Morphine (horribly addictive) and Oxycontin (even WORSE) are "better" drugs because they are sanctioned by the FDA. To quote Neilb, "Gah!"

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

the "75% of CEOs donated to Democratic candidates" statistic. You see, there are two kinds of Democrats. Those who are in the elite, and want to minimize the chances of anyone joining them, and those who are willing to accept the occasional bone thrown to them to not try to join them.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

[u]"There's something deeply wrong with putting the rights of a minority up to a majority vote," said Evan Wolfson, a gay-rights lawyer who heads a group called Freedom to Marry. "If this were being done to almost any other minority, people would see how un-American this is."[/u] I fully agree with Mr. Wolfson. It's the same mentality I'm talking about. The majority imposing their will on the minority, when that minority is doing nothing to hurt anybody, is mob-ism, and is evil. In the gay marriage case, there are strong religious overtones to the restrictions, but I would submit that none of the incarnations of God that these people claim to follow would authorize a follower to impose his will onto another. It violates the very concept of "free will" that is in some form or other in every religion's sacred texts. You are, in effect, usurping God's authority! It is this same evil, the evil of putting your own desires above that of others, that lets people think they can, by mob-rule, steal from one person and give to another. [b]How dare you![/b] One of these times, you're going to grossly underestimate the strength of the minority you decide to impose your will upon, and they're going to bite you in the ass...HARD! It happened 232 years ago, and it can happen again! In fact, I am almost certain that it will!

Tig2
Tig2

61% of people who make in excess of $200,000 voted for Obama. Interesting.

CaptBilly1Eye
CaptBilly1Eye

Growing up in Ohio, I remember it being the definitive 'conservative' Midwest state. Back in the 60's Columbus was thought to be the best source to feel the pulse of the typical U.S. voter. Most product test markets and polling originated there. As the city grew and went from being the fifth largest city to the top of the heap, the political climate there changed as well. Way back then, Cleveland was still a growing industrial center and Cincinnati was fast becoming the largest city - with a low crime rate, a bustling economy that focused on large corporations and primarily made up of Republicans that were proud they supported their party. A lot has changed. I left Ohio for Michigan in the late 70s and spent most of the next 20 years outside of Detroit. The decline of that city made all the other's problems with urban decay pale in comparison. It was that sad experience that gave me the incentive to move to a red state. Where, at least for now, the majority of the people still defend a desire for small government with the least amount of intrusion as possible. But it's changing everywhere.

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

Stupidity is trying to control, through the ballot box, people's behaviors that are none of anybody's business. There is a lot of that going on in Ohio of late. People will get it one day when someone else "controls" something that costs someone in THEIR family their livelihood, like the Pay-day loan bill... If they never use the services, it's really none of their business! I hope more people come to realize this before it's too late. My family is being attacked. I will defend them. [i]me and 62 million others. [/i] I once saw a bull run off a cliff. He was followed by 62 million others :)

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

I can't find any links at the moment to support this, but I have one theory on gangs. I also saw it on the history chanel so it must be true, lol. I've had a few friends in law enforcement complain about it, as well. Prior to 9/11 there was a tremendous focus on gangs, especially around NJ and areas where gangs were attempting to branch out. The feds were working from the top down as opposed from the bottom up in the early 80's, and it was workings. The gangs would split into rival factions after a leader was jailed or simply fall apart due to internal conflicts and power struggles. At that point local law enforcement could handle the problems. The tactics were working moderately well, at least more so tha in the 80's until 9/11 happened. After that funding and manpower shifted to the war on terror. Now gangs are prevalent all across rural america. I know I've personally seen the "blood killers" and other crip tags all around wilmington and coastal nc while on vacation...in very rural areas sometimes and just outside of more affluent communities and vacation properties. Again...just my opinion with no way to back it up other than "I saw it on the history chanel" and "my friends in local/state law enforcement complained about federal aid being cut off for gang crimes."

LarryBoy2
LarryBoy2

I'd like to say the majority are the former, but I really don't believe that. Far too many people in the US today have a victim mentality. Thankfully, I only work in this city (Cincinnati) and don't live here. Looking for an IT job closer to home, though, preferably in Warren or Butler Counties, if anyone has any good leads.... :)

Forum Surfer
Forum Surfer

IMO marijuana is way less dangerous than alcohol, even if abused heavily. I also feel that the war on marijuana is a tremendous waste of money. I think the DEA and other agencies use marijuana shipments as bartering tools to get to the real problem drugs like cocaine, meth and heroine (making a comeback!). Besides, you can't tell me that the dea doesn't noticed tons of pot coming up from south america. Have you ever saw a major pot shipment? You need large, heavy duty trucks to move in serious weight. Even single prop planes can only bring so much flying under radar at night. Filling small, fast boats with pot won't even cover fuel charges! Of course all this is speculation on my part. But imo our $$$ could be put to better use. Pot is at worst no more dangerous than alcohol and no more of a gateway drug than a 6 pack of brewskis.

maecuff
maecuff

me and 62 million others.

jdclyde
jdclyde

are insane and now worthless groups like the ACLU that would claim going after the gangs is racism. If there was real support for clearing out the gangs, it could be done. Bring in the national guard and defend the nation from the internal threat. After all, we use the Coast Guard to stop drugs, what is the difference? NO plea deals, just plenty of public executions.

jdclyde
jdclyde

The big cities going for Obama, how many don't work? Are the majority, people looking to help others in need, or people looking to be in the receiving end?

jdclyde
jdclyde

just wrong. It happens to the best of us, or so I have heard..... ;\

LarryBoy2
LarryBoy2

I do, too, and I've lived here almost all of my life. I can't help but be amazed at how well Obama has duped so many intelligent people, here and it other states. The irony, to me, is also that most of the suburbs and rural areas, amounting to ~3/4 of Ohio counties, favored McCain by as much as a 2-1 margin, but every major Ohio city favored Obama by enough of a margin to outweigh the rest of us. Not sure what that says about the urban population. Thankfully, all of my county and state level reps are still more conservative, as is my US Rep. Can't say as much for my US Senators, even the one that is Republican, nor anyone in the state executive branch, though.

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

...as well as do some good: really attack street gangs. Gangs can be linked to all of the following societal problems: Drug use/selling Prostitution Carjacking Murder Urban School decay Illegal gun trade I've said before, and I'll say again, the easiest way to tackle them is to declare that street gangs are tantamount to domestic terrorist cells; and use the Patriot Act to have them in merciless fashion. Would take a politician with brass balls to take this on (this would probably drive the ACLU up the wall, I'm sure)...but the benefits would lap the costs 10x over.

jdclyde
jdclyde

because I will need it to fight my coming depression..... ;\ Wonder if I will be able to get some for my shoulder? It really is the only time I do smoke anymore, when it is killing me and I don't want to get into the codine. I have not bought any in over 20 years.....

maecuff
maecuff

We stupid people appreciate it.

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

I'd have voted for it. Legalizing medical marijuana was the next best thing. Way back in the day my Grammy Wright had three vertebrae fused in her lower back, was in pain and walked with a cane. She came over to Aunty Betty's house next door where I was at and asked me if I had any of that funny tobacco. Turns out I did. I rolled her up a 'cigarette' and she stood there and smoked the whole thing before going back home to cook some chili. :^0 She wasn't home very long before she called me at Aunt Bettys and asked me to come over for chili and to bring her cane as she forgot it. She didn't need it right away but she'd need it again later after her pain-killer wore off. If medical marijuana can help fine people like Grammy Wright live better, pain free lives I say let it happen and now, in Michigan and several other states, it can happen. I'll have to take your word about the adopting of Libertarian stances on drug policies. All I know is that the war on drugs, where it concerns marijuana, is a failure. I don't know where I could even buy any right now but I think that I could find some with a few phone calls/visits. It's prevalent everywhere even though that may not be obvious to all. I wish we'd legalize it. I probably wouldn't partake of it but I don't see it as a gateway drug or something to be demonized. It's no worse than having a few beers to relax. If I had a ton of money I'd support NORML. As it is I support them in principle.

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

People are generally smart enough to know when the government has been in cahoots with the drug companies so they both can make a profit selling and enforcing drug laws. If the Republicans REALLY want to win back the White House in 2012, they will adopt the Libertarian stances on drug policies and a smaller federal government. True conservatives have fled the party in droves and won't come back till there is real change.

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

Michigan's Medical Marijuana issue passed by a wide margin. :0

TonytheTiger
TonytheTiger

for the rampant stupidity in my (for now) home state. The relatively new predisposition here toward controlling the behavior of others via the ballot box should have forewarned me.

OnTheRopes
OnTheRopes

I think that's pretty funny that they've called Ohio for Obama. What a big help Joe was.

CaptBilly1Eye
CaptBilly1Eye

Now that they've called Ohio for Obama (9:50PM E.S.T.), It's all but over. disappointing to say the least. ...heading for bed. [dreaming about succession] ;-)