I am a little obsessed with the election. I think I know more about polling and the electoral college than ever before, thanks to Nate Silver.
I read both the Washington Post and the New York Times, and I find it fascinating how differently they forecast this election. Just days ago, the WaPo thought the popular vote would go for Romney but the electoral vote might go for Obama. The NYTimes FiveThirtyEight analysis of the polls had Obama at 50.3% of the popular vote and a 74.4% chance of winning the electoral college.
Now the WaPo has Obama up by 0.06%, and 538 has Obama at 50.5% of the popular vote and an 81.4% chance of winning the electoral college.
It's no secret where I stand on this subject: I have been an Obama fan since I read Dreams from My Father in 2004. This year, I put my time where my mouth is and signed up for three rounds of volunteering for the Obama campaign here in Universe City. I want a second Obama presidency, and I think we as a nation need it.
I feel a sick sense of dread at the thought of a Romney presidency. And yet, I know that I come from a place where there are committed Republicans who have the same feeling about the Democratic candidate winning.
I read an article recently that suggested that the difference in philosophy between conservatives and liberals comes down to how we see humans as a whole.
If you see humans as inherently bad and unable to make wise decisions, you will tend to be conservative politically (distrust the government's spending of your money on things like healthcare, believe that people receiving TANF are mooching, outlaw abortion because women will just use it as birth control if it is legal, own a gun to protect yourself). Conservatives tend to trust the market more than they do individual people. If people are inherently not to be trusted, then I can understand the panic at the idea of a liberal movement in this country.
(Although, as an admitted liberal, I have to say: isn't the market made up of people, too? So... why would you trust it/them?)
If you see humans as inherently good and able to make wise decisions (the article used the word "utopian," but hey, I'll own that), you will tend to be liberal politically (believe that healthcare reform is important, believe that people receiving TANF are probably mostly those who really need it, keep abortion legal because you trust a woman to make that difficult choice herself, favor gun control). Liberals tend to trust people more than they do the market. This is why I feel panic at the idea of a Romney presidency: I think he's going to pass us off to greedy corporations.
Tonight I sat down to fill out the rest of my ballot. I'd already filled out the important elections, but State of Happiness has various proposals on the ballot for or against which a person may vote. I have a whole stack of flyers and booklets from various groups with their take on the proposals, and I'm wading through them, trying to make a conscientious vote.
"We are grown-ups now," someone said to me today. "We have to be responsible voters."
I'm doing my best to do that, and despite our differences, my conservative friends and family, I know that you are doing your best to do that, too. We just differ on what the best is.