Americans Elect: Pretty Obamish
Too Close for Obama’s Comfort: I’ve just spent a couple of hours on the website of Americans Elect, the outfit that plans a computerized nominating process to get a “nonpartisan” third candidate on the ballot in all 50 states. Anyone can sign up on the site and answer questions, the answers to which will supposedly “shape the Americans Elect process.” After you’ve answered, they tell you how others answered.
Conclusion: This is a pretty “liberal” group. They want to legalize pot, mandate health insurance, spend federal money on public schools while keeping religion out. They’re pro-choice on abortion. They don’t think cutting taxes or government spending creates jobs and they feel the amount of taxes they pay is “fair.” They’re recycling, Darwinist Keynesian spenders who worry about global warming. …. There are exceptions to this Jon Stewartish profile, though: When it comes to the deficit, they tend to prefer spending cuts to tax increases. They think government regulates “too many things.” They favor gun rights. Only a minority (44%) sees unions as “crucial,” while the rest either see them as no longer necessary (35%) and or an actual “hindrance” (21%). A slim 49-42 plurality says teachers unions in particular are obstacles to needed reform.
Overall, the answers don’t completely fit the profile of any group actually known to exist–including the Ron Paulites–which is why they’re intriguing.* To the extent a coherent profile emerges, though, Obama should be worried, because it overlaps more with his than with, say, Mitt Romney’s (let alone Santorum’s). Unless, of course, a Mitt-like GOP nominee moves a lot closer to the center for the general election in a bid for independents. The presence of third party ready to steal those same voters should act as a deterrrent to that move, no?
Caveats: The Americans Elect questions are annoying, sometimes designed to steer respondents to a preferred “middle” position–hello, “conditional residency” for illegal immigrants! Sometimes they oddly exclude the moderate middle, like the question asking whether it should be harder or easier for imports to get into the country, with no “status quo is OK” option. The answers are also frequently “weighted” by each respondents’ “priority,” which may help produce the odd overall profile. (If you list “environment” as your priority,what are the chances you’re going to oppose recycling?)
Nor is it clear the answers will have any effect at all on the Americans Elect nominee, who apparently will be vetted by an elite committee and then chosen via a separate online voting process.
Team Obama would be well advised to recruit millions of followers to jump online and vote for someone more unlike the person they actually support. …