I can remember visiting my grandparents in Parlin, New Jersey for several holidays and occasions each year. My grandpa and I would sit and watch a television show called, “The Uncle Floyd Show” which was a New Jersey institution in the form of a low-budget comedy-variety program. The show bounced around, year after year, from low frequency channel to low budget cable channel so many times that my grandpa would tease me and say that “Uncle Floyd” was on “Channel 52 and a Half”. Inevitably, we would talk up some baseball stories, mainly focusing on who should and shouldn’t be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. We wouldn’t get into stats too often, but I would question him about the merits of certain ballplayers, like Steve Garvey, for instance, who I thought should be in Hall and who my grandpa thought should not. Our selections to the Hall were based on straight up and down votes. Either he’s allowed induction into the Hall or he’s not.
Voting for someone into the Baseball Hall of Fame is not the same as voting for the next President of the United States yet many polling companies typically give the respondent two candidates to choose from. Either you vote for the Democrat or you vote for the Republican. There is little middle ground. In the United States, voters are more likely to consider themselves, Independent, than Democrat or Republican. Furthermore, there are extremes to both the left and to the right of our two major parties. You have your Greens, Socialists and the newly formed Justice Party to the left of the Democrats and the Libertarians and Constitution Party supporter to the right of the Republicans. However, when asked to choose a Presidential preference, many voters are left with one or the other. Is it going to be Barack Obama or Mitt Romney? I know we get a chance to say, “I Don’t Know” or “Unsure” or “Other”, but I want my “other” choice to be a specific name. When I buy a drink from the store, I have a choice of Coke, Pepsi, and other cola brands, such as RC. The labels never read, “Other Cola”.
Why not list, Jill Stein, Gary Johnson, Virgil Goode, or Rocky Anderson as polling choices? In Colorado, you could add the name of Roseanne Barr, who is also a third-party candidate for President in some states. How about adding the Prohibition Party candidate to a poll in Louisiana, the only state where the party qualified this year?
Polls should list all candidates running for President, and for other offices, where applicable. If it’s a nationwide poll, then all candidates who are running if enough states to qualify for the Electoral College should be listed. State by state Presidential polls should include all qualified candidates from that state in the survey. Polls for Gubernatorial, Senate, and House races should also not leave third party or Independent candidates off of their questionnaires. It is the honest way to go to promote electoral choice in the United States. Polling companies that offer multiple survey choices only inform the voter more about who is running for a particular office. There is no harm in doing so.
My grandpa passed away a few years ago. I miss those baseball discussions with him. Looking back, it seems that our final decisions on who should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame were pretty rigid. Making a choice for President in a poll, however, should not have to be as rigid.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below.