When market analysts such as politicians need insight into how people really view something, they often convene a focus group.
Last week I sought out something like that, consisting of party-line Republican Idaho voters. The 19 responses were enough (together with a collection of comments from a range of other sources) to tell me this much: The 220,000 or more (more in a presidential year) who vote down-the-line Republican in Idaho arrive at that result not by any one, but in variety of ways.
First, thanks to all who responded. I’ll honor the requests for anonymity from a number of respondents; I will say that none of them were familiar to me or are well-known public figures. Eight of the 19 didn’t specifically meet the terms of the request: They broke from the Republican ticket once or twice, mostly in the superintendent of public instruction race, but also for governor and secretary of state. The explanations for the vote were usually specific, several about as lengthy as this column.
Detail wasn’t absent from all down-the-line respondents. One said of GOP superintendent candidate Sherri Ybarra: “much more complete in the debates and showed her concern about educating the WHOLE child. She understands the use of money and how best to use in to get the most out of what she is given. She will not just have her hand out. She will fit in with the Republican Legislators and the land board.” Of Lawerence Denny for secretary of state: “This was a tough one for me. Reason, experience and land board.” Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter: “I’ve been disappointed at times. Idaho taking on the Federal mandated Insurance exchange for one. Balukoff ran a one issue race on more money for education without answers.”
Some respondents clearly had followed the campaigns, but there seemed a gap: Was it just coincidence that all their choices went to one party?
Most of the all-R voters, however, focused on the nature of the parties.
One seemed to focus on President Obama: “Considering the Republican tide that swept the country on Nov 4, with Obama stating he wasn’t on the ballot but his policies were; a vote for any Democrat was a vote for Obama’s policies. Idaho voters priorities were in step with the country and were clearly shown. Stop Obama’s policies!!!”
Another: “The ways that I disagree with various Republicans is small compared with the intense disagreement I have with the stances, the behavior and philosophy of the collation of interests groups , known as the Democratic Party. I cringe at the thought of Frank Church, I am surrounded by people who despise Harry Reid, Nancy Polosy(?) and Jesse Jackson. Guilt by association? Yup!”
Another focused on the parties more broadly: “Who are democrats as a party? They support illegal immigration, extend financial aid of all kinds to them, are pro abortion, against right-to-work, do not support our military, and back liberal environmentalism ala climate change. I do not want anyone in public office that holds to these views as are enumerated in the Idaho Democratic Platform. So, even if I have ought with republican candidates, there is no alternative.”
And: “First, I have an inherent distrust in the news media. This includes the local newspaper (Twin Falls Times) as they seem to work overtime pounding on every Republican in sight. What I see is Democrat GOOD, republican BAD. How simplistic! I feel like we are being treated like a bunch of half wits too stupid to understand why we should vote for the democrats. You Sir are in the same camp so don’t act like you are a moderate and continue your line of questioning. Come to think of it, you have the same mentality as the used care salesman we have in the whitehouse. Wake up and smell the roses.”
The last one notwithstanding: Anyone whose rationale wasn’t reflected here (or was), feel free to send me a note. I expect to come back around to this area. I find voters a lot more interesting than politicians.Share on Facebook