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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

How Much Do Issues Matter?

Chris Bowers opens a MyDD discussion on how much policy actually matters as a factor in selecting a candidate. Noting that the top-polling Democratic presidential candidates advocate strikingly similar policies on health care, energy/global warming and Iraq withdrawal, Bowers argues that “something other than policy proposals are the driving force behind the candidate preferences of the majority of people who participate in Dailykos straw polls.” Granted, that’s a narrow universe, but perhaps it could be extended to high information voters as a broader group. Bowers cites a list of 7 other factors, including electabiilty, cultural identity and partisanship. Bowers asks his readers “do you base your vote mainly on policy distinctions between candidates, or mainly on other, non-policy oriented factors?” and he gets an interesting earful in the comments that follow.
Of course issues do matter quite a lot to many voters, and E. J. Dionne’s WaPo column makes the case that expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program is the strongest issue for Democrats looking to win broad pubic support.

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