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A blog that takes a look at West Chester area government, politics, and community events.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Whatever you just did doesn't matter

Over the course of the year, I've interviewed a lot of candidates for the state legislature. Because I'm gaffe-prone, I usually said, during the course of our conversations: "You can campaign however you want, but it might not end up mattering. Your race might end up being decided by the presidential election."

They, of course, didn't want to agree with me.

And I'll admit that I might be wrong.

But if I'm right, my argument only applies to Chester County's four competetive state House districts (the Tredyffrin and Phoenixville area's 157th; the West Chester Area's 156th; the Malvern Area's 167th; and Southern Chester County's 13th).

For all the work the candidates for these seats have done, the presidential election is likely to outweigh it. There are tons of voters who only vote in presidential elections. Their number will be higher this year, because of Obama's very successful voter registration drives. These presidential year voters probably have no idea who is running in their state house district. If they only vote once every four years, or have never voted before, it's doubtful they even care who their Congressmen and U.S. Senators are. So what will these voters do? Vote Obama or McCain, look at all the other names, squint a bit, and figure, "What the hell? I'll go straight party."

People keep telling me that Chester County's voters are notorious ticket splitters - that they're too smart to go straight party. In a midterm election, this may be true (see: Rendell and Gerlach carrying the county in 2006). But midterm voters pay more attention to politics than those who vote only in Presidential elections. I'll have to see this notorious ticket splitting to believe it.


Anonymous Dan Lasley said...

So will the Daily Local be posting a summary of the local races, including State and Congress? Perhaps even an endorsement or two? Only a few days left!

October 28, 2008 9:44 AM 
Anonymous nancy said...

Sad but true. I worked the polls for many years and yhe only time some people came out to vote was for the President.. Sad because the local people like Judges, Commissioners etc.. these people efect us sometimes more than national policy

November 5, 2008 4:47 PM 

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