Guide to placing New York and California back on the presidential election map.

Suppose the following notion overcame voters in our two most populus states?

How would this affect the election?

1st and 3rd most populous states.

Funny they didn’t include Texas in the equation. I wonder why that is?

Battleground states are so for a reason. Lying on polls won’t change that fact.

Sorry for the ambiguos source quotation. The source was me. I put my idea in a quote box because I thought it looked better standing apart from the remainder of the text.

Texas could easily be tossed into the mix though the democrats wouldn’t have an incentive to encourage voters there to change what they said to pollsters.

I thought of this less as a Democrat/Republican issue than as a states rights issue. Though, in the current political climate, I’d give the advantage to Democrats if large polarized states figured more prominently into presidential politics.

Asking voters not to give it away to pollsters (which they do voluntarily anyway, and get nothing for it in return), might draw significant support in large, traditionally liberal or conservative states. If you explain to people that they aren’t breaking laws, but simply amplifying their states voice through an act of reticence, they may adopt this approach in droves. Just explain “You gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em.” :slight_smile:

Polling isn’t written into the constitution. In some sense, isn’t the lack of a direct role in presidential politics these states experience the fault of pollsters?

Thanks for the correction.

How does pretending to be a swing state increase states’ rights? I’m not sure I understand the premise of the OP.

It forces the presidential candidates to focus on issues pertinent to the state(s) in question.

And where is the evidence that issues that New York and California are interested in are not being addressed in this election? All the studies I have seen show that most Americans are roughly interested in the same issues, with some minor variation in levels of intensity with regard to particular issues.

And where is the evidence that issues strictly follow state lines?

I think any effort to hide a state’s real political feelings for its gain would need to be heavily publicized to work, and thus negating an effect of effort. Pollsters and pundits are smarter than that. Usually.

As for Texas I would doubt it would have nearly as much to gain especially with its ties to Bush. Secondly NY and California get screwed a whole lot more than Texas when it comes to the amount of federal dollars they get versus the money the pay in federal taxes. Those two states are usually slandered as being drains on the US when in reality they are the main ones footing the bill. But I think it has more to do with their small influence relative to their size in the senate and their economic structure rather than their political persuasion that are at fault.

If these states actually managed to pretend to not be for Kerry all it would do was convince the rest of the US that Kerry’s candidacy was a joke. America likes winners, or at least people they think actually have a chance.

Eh, what’s in it for me?

New York is doing well enough without Bush, Dick, and The Johns running all over the place bringing wherever they go to a virtual standstill.

The candidates would be blowing precious resources where they don’t have to, and it may cause them to come up short where they really need it. Not good!

No, it forces the candidate to spend money in a state that he has already won. This is a frightfully bad idea.

Say, for example, I’m a Kerry supporter in CA. I know that Kerry has won CA. And I should know that he’s got a finite amount of money, time, and attention to spend while campaigning. Now, if enough of my fellow Kerry supporters and I decide to follow this ill-conceived plan, all of a sudden, the campaign is wasting its time and money on me rather than on states that really are battle ground states, where the attention really is needed. And we could lose those.

“The guy who lost focused on my state’s issues!” well, yippee.

I am thankful California isn’t a swing state, we don’t get a fraction of the stupid political ads the swing states get.

If New York and California played a greater role in presidential politics wouldn’t the importance of issues like the gay marriage ammendment, embryonic stem cell research funding ban, and selection of conservative justices fade from the national stage? I’d imagine that national republican candidates would more closely resemble the moderate republicans governing in those states.

Granted, candidates would expend resources courting voters in both states. If this pushed national Republicans towards the left, however, it might be worthwhile.

An article in Sunday’s NYT convinced me that this remains a viable thread.

The article discusses the ways in which the inequities of the Electoral College system translate into policy differences.

While the article addresses how presidential politics would change if the electoral college were replaced with a popular vote system, it’s conclusions pertain more generally to any system that would move solidly democratic and republican states back into the “toss-up” category.

To restate my argument:

  1. The current electoral system reduces the representation of citizens of polarized states in electoral politics
  2. Reduced representation affects the nature of policy proposals by both the Dems and the 'Pubbies
  3. Citizens of the polarized, ‘under-represented’ states stand to benefit from having the attention of presidential candidates turned towards their states’ issues.
  4. Polling is how politicians know whether a state is worth fighting for or not.
  5. If a large proportion (20-30%) of the electorate in currently “safe” states reported their presidential affiliation as undecided, politicians would be forced to regard the state as “in play.”

IMHO, this idea has the virtue of not requiring any legislative reform, it is not illegal, and would likely move the national republican platform towards the political center (NY and CA are currently both governed by moderate republicans, so clearly support exists in these “liberal bastions” for republican values). I’m sure there’d be an impact on democratic policy as well.

The downsides are:

  1. Somehow many people would have to be convinced that this is a good idea.
  2. Pollsters are sneaky smart and would figure out some way to counter this strategy.
  3. Because the “Vote undecided” campaign would be overt, the pollsters and candidates alike would choose to ignore the newly minted block of ambivalent voters.
  4. Political candidates would waste time and money in states they ‘should have’ had sewn up.

I think #1 is surmountable. #2 is unlikely, as is #3. The number of electors held by CA, TX, and NY (assuming all three states adopted this practice) is too large to write off if some doubt exists regarding their affiliations.

#4 is the most troubling objection. My feeling is that the benefits of this strategy (promoting centrist presidential candidates) would offset these losses.

I’d like to state emphatically that it is not my intention to tip American politics towards the Dems or the 'Pubbies. Rather, the goal is to increase pluralism in American presidential politics by popular movement. IMHO this will deliver candidates Americans will ‘on average’ find more palatable and in so doing, might close the gaping maw between the left-leaning and right-leaning camps.

Are any of these available online? This makes sense to me and I’d like to know where to find such data if it is available on the web.

Or at least, it gets them to send interesting stumpers to your state. Hawaii wobbles, and voila! Al Gore and Vanessa Kerry wing their way to woo you.

Alaska could learn some tips from Hawaii pollsters.

Just so you know, you can also use the indent tag to set some portion of text apart from the rest.

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