Single Issue Voting

This is the first election in my 40 years that I’ve been this interested in and have taken the time to truly try and understand (and investigate) the issues. As such, I’ve come across a lot of references to people who are (usually) either independents or undecideds that seem to make their selection of candidates due to a single issue voting stance. Since I don’t know many folks like this personally who fall into this category, I’d like to take a poll about you all’s take on it. So if you will and hopefully we can all remain civil… :slight_smile:

I’ll divide this into two groups apropos of whichever side you see yourself on.

[li]Are you a single issue voter?[/li][li]If yes (and you feel comfortable sharing), would you mind telling us what that issue is?[/li][li]Does this particular issue trump everything else (like a nominee’s total package [platform / character] or what they stand for representing their party)? Or does it just hold a place of prominence and then could sway you in one direction or the other?[/li][li]If your one issue trumps all else, why is it that important?[/li][/ol]

[li]If you are not a single issue voter, what is your opinion of the practice? For example; Are these voters short-sighted? Is it irrelevant how they pick? Or necessary component depending on the importance of the issue involved?[/li][li]Further, do you take umbrage of those that do this? Why or why not?[/li][/ol]

Maybe this will help me understand. I’ve felt unbelievably strong about some issues before (being pro-life when I was younger or now as a liberal intent on gay marriage), but have never voted solely pertaining to just that one thing. Now I’d like to see where others are coming from. Please help me.

[P.S. And once again, I appeal to everyone answering to be polite, civil and not deriding of anyone else’s choices. Let’s just embody the very spirt of bipartisanship! Thank you.]

There are a few things that would eliminate a cadidate from my pool immediately.

Support of “intelligent design”

Elimination of Women’s right to choose

Elimination of funding for the sciences and research programs.

Okay, I’ll bite on this one. Can you elaborate? I’ll note that I’m drawing the distinction between government funding of prizes for X (q.v. Longitude Prize) and general funding, from which such as Angua benefit and from which Hubble was funded.

< bump >

I must be really bad at this poll thing whenever politics are involved. I can’t hardly get any interest at all. :frowning: However, I am grateful for the two answers I’ve had. Thanks y’all.

So anyway, I’m giving it my one gratuitous bump and then perhaps I should ask a mod about moving it to GD instead. 'Cause I’d really like to learn something here.


I don’t see any real debate here.

I think you’re fine right where you are.


1. If you are not a single issue voter, what is your opinion of the practice?

I hate it.

For example; Are these voters short-sighted?


Is it irrelevant how they pick?


Or necessary component depending on the importance of the issue involved?

Not sure what you mean. I don’t think that the main issues that most single-issue voters are tweaked about (abortion, guns, taxes) are trivial or irrelevant; just that there are a lot of other important things left unconsidered, and IMHO, that is extremely counterproductive, especially today when many other issues require attention.

2. Further, do you take umbrage of those that do this?


Why or why not?

Because people like that are, again IMHO, are one of the main reasons we ended up with Bush. He has been an absolute disaster as president, and I think it’s pretty fair to say that if there weren’t a significant number of numbnuts who only care about abortion/guns/taxes, we wouldn’t have had to endure his sorry administration for the last 8 years, not to mention have thousands of our sons/daughters/husbands/wives (not to mention thousands of innocent civilians) die in a stupid, useless war.

I’m not a single-issue voter, but there are some things that raise a red flag with me. So much so that barring overwhelming plusses elsewhere, they would disqualify a candidate for me.

“Gun Control” - in quotes because what it usually means is confiscation and persecution. Cold dead fingers and all that.

Abortion - I am rabidly pro-choice, even though I also believe as a male that I really don’t have a right to an opinion on this topic.

Religious nuttery of all types - I’ve got no problem with religion. It’s the religious that drive me bonkers sometimes. Keep your personal beliefs out of my classroom!

Gay Rights - We are either equal or we aren’t. I know which side I’m on.
Other than those, I’m pretty flexible! :smiley:

[li]Are you a single issue voter? [/li]Depends on how you define the term. I’m not really, but there are a small number of issues that are non-negotiable to me.

[li]If yes (and you feel comfortable sharing), would you mind telling us what that issue is?[/li] Gun control is number one. Individual rights and/or abortion is number two. I will not vote for an anti-gun candidate regardless of the rest of their platform, if both are similar on that then gay rights and abortion rights would be the tie breaker.

[li]Does this particular issue trump everything else (like a nominee’s total package [platform / character] or what they stand for representing their party)? Or does it just hold a place of prominence and then could sway you in one direction or the other?[/li]It’s hard to say. There’s never been an instance where I agreed enough with an anti-gun candidate to make a difference.

[li]If your one issue trumps all else, why is it that important?[/li]Why is the First Amendment important? If a candidate ran on a platform (or had an obvious history) of trying to apply freedom of speech to only the Government Printing Office, I’d oppose that as well.
Someone that doesn’t trust us to defend ourselves is so contemptible in my opinion that I can’t imagine allowing them any power at all.

Of course there is more to life than that, which is why I usually vote for a 3rd party. People don’t seem to believe me when I say that the only difference between the Republicans and Democrats is what they lie about, but that’s how I feel. If the Dems would stop trying to outlaw guns or the Repubs would stop with the government mandated morality, I might actually vote for one of them.

I guess I’m a 2 issue voter.

Thanks Rico for all your help. Now then; yeah answers!

Ok. let’s see if I can clarify some things…

What I meant by this is that if you are not a single issue voter, is your opinon of the practice that isn’t not relevant why / how they pick their issue. I suppose this is only worthy of discussion if you disprove of the practice though.

That if their issue is important enough in the greater scheme of things, than perhaps they deserve more of a pass for ignoring other issues in favor of just the one. IE: Abortion / capital punishment would be an okay thing to overlook but if the only reason you chose your candidate is because they won’t cut federal spending for new highways, then that wouldn’t be acceptable (and I’m sure it’s unnecessary to note, but I just pulled those examples outta my ass, but I’m sure you guys knew that already).

My understanding is when pretty much just one issue determines your outlook, and by extension your vote, on everything else. Say that fiscal responsibility is more important to [general] you than absolutely anything else and henceforth you vote accordingly and the remainder falls by the wayside.

Hope that helps. And I appreciate everyone answering so far. I think I’m beginning to have the briefest of understanding. Gracias.

Similar to the others that have responded, there is no single issue that will make me support a candidate, but a few that will disqualify him:

  1. Support for increasing regulations on healthcare of changing to a universal healthcare system.
  2. Pro-choice at the federal level.
  3. Pro-gun control.
  4. Support for government funding/subsidies of “energy solutions” and most other research. I’m looking at you, Acid Lamp.
  5. Support for raising taxes/refusal to cut spending.

I’m dissatisfied with both the Republicans and the Democrats, although moreso with the Democrats. At least there are a few Republicans in office who still support small government. No. 5 in particular makes me very reluctant to support McCain, and only because there is no other viable choice.

Actually now that I think of it, support for changing the electoral system to a Condorcet method or even another good preferential system would make me a single-issue voter.

Vox Imperatoris

What they said. Things which I cannot support in a candidate:

  1. I no longer support Obama’s candidacy, now that I know he supports the expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban. The definition of an assault weapon that this ban uses is illogical, and I oppose any politician who thinks it is good enough to put into law. Support of this definition suggests that they are more concerned with what appeals to their more gun-phobic supporters than what would actually serve a useful purpose.

  2. Anti-intellectualism. If you don’t know what you’re doing, and won’t listen to people who do know what you’re doing, you can’t be trusted not to fuck everything up. For example, when Clinton expressed disdain for the “elite opinion” of economists who were saying her idea wouldn’t work.

  3. Believing that the Bible is infallible. Belief in a non-interventionist God is one thing, believing that your book trumps the evidence supporting more mundane explanations is another.

  4. Continued belief that Saddam Hussain was personally involved in the 9/11 attacks. As the old saying goes: "Fool me once, shame on… shame on you. Fool me… I can’t get fooled again. "

This, and anti-“elitism” in general. I’m tired of both parties using “Wall Street” as a curse word. Their “eliteness” is not a reason to disagree with their views, even if they *are *wrong.

Vox Imperatoris

I suppose I’m a single issue voter in that there are some issues that, if the candidate believes in them, I cannot in good conscience cast a vote for them. But I’m not actively searching out any candidate’s viewpoint on one particular issue as a guidepost on how I should vote, which I think is what the OP is getting at when he (she?) asks the question.

Now, what do I think about single-issue voters? On the one hand, at least they care enough to take a stand and stay informed. They’re doing more research than the average voter does when he or she casts a ballot, so I suppose that’s good.

But let’s take one single issue in particular: abortion. There are a good number of people who say “if you’re pro-choice, that’s it. I won’t vote for you.” Again, at least you’re taking an interest in the system. Still, let’s delve into that belief.

To have Pro-Life as your single guidepost in decisionmaking means your goal is 1) to vote enough people into Congress AND each of the state Legislatures that not only will a pro-life amendment to the Constitution be passed but it will even be drafted in the first place. This seems unlikely. Or 2) To have enough people in Congress that if (when) a Supreme Court justice needs to be nominated, a Pro-Life nominee gets placed in there, which assumes also a) a Pro-Life president to make the nomination, b) one can adequately determine the nominee’s Pro-Life stance in the nomination process, c) that a case involving abortion rights will even be granted certiorari and d) that this new Justice will vote the way you want in the case.

That’s a hell of a lot of variables to consider. And meanwhile, day in and day out there are a LOT of more important decisions in the running of the government that these voters are ignoring by focusing solely on a candidate’s views on abortion. To me it makes no sense.

I guess I’m a single issue voter on abortion when it comes to the president and senate so I’ll try to explain my reasoning. It really comes down to this: Abortion is the killing of a human life. This should be ended. Because it was decided by the Supreme Court only they can change it and that is only going to happen if there are new justices. The only ones who can do that are the President and the Senate. Other issues are also important (though I wouldn’t say more important), but they can be handled by others (House of Representatives, the states, private charities, etc). So therefore I will vote for the President and Senate based on their views on abortion.