Thursday, November 17, 2011

Less Popular Than Polygamy?

While the rest of the press fixates on what Obama’s ratings will mean for his reelection, the real 800 pound gorilla in the voting booth seems barely to be noticed. I’m speaking of course about Congress. As this Huff-Po article expresses, Congress is now less popular than a number of seemingly negative things, like the BP oil spill or the government “going communist.” The effect this could have on the 2012 election is potentially huge. With Congress essentially split between the two parties, the question of who voters will turn to - especially if “throw the bums out” is the only narrative that sticks - is a difficult one to answer.

One possibility is that this will turn out to be a good year for third parties and independents. With both parties being vilified, voters may prove unwilling to hold their noses for the big two this year. In such a scenario, the only viable alternative would be the non-affiliated or fringe candidate. Of course, the more parties that run, the less predictable the results tend to be. Extra candidates could win, but history suggests they are more likely to split votes, causing all sorts of havoc. A more likely outcome is that the big two retain their lock on the nominations and voters express their disgust by staying home. If that happens, there is no telling how this election will turn out. It may come down to a question of which side has the weaker sense smell…
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