Red-state, blue-state divide overblown, BYU study shows

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Independent Henderson, NV
    June 8, 2011 11:16 a.m.

    "What would happen say if we should do away with parties, and have a primary with the entire group of candidates in?"

    I see what you are getting at, but are you comfortable doing away with the right of people to associate? What I think we should do is open up the general election to a wider range of candidates, in practice. I think we should go ahead and allow parties to have primaries, but then have two phases of the general election, so that people can rationally vote for a third party or independent candidate first, before having to chose between the top two, thereby giving third party and independent candidates a fighting chance to make it to the top two. No canditate should win without getting at least 50% plus one of the vote. Bill Clinton became president after about 60% of the country voted against him. Maybe he would have won had there been a run-off, but we'll never know. With this kind of system, the importance of Republican and Democrat primaries is diminished, but they are still free as a private organization to pick whoever they want, however they want.

  • Independent Henderson, NV
    June 8, 2011 10:55 a.m.

    For me, it's not really an issue of right versus left. Most of us hold opinions that cross the entire spectrum, even if we lean more one direction on the whole. The real issue is self-government. You cannot tell me that one person representing the interests of 710,000 people is self-government, especially when it comes to such personal issues as retirement and healthcare. I don't care how well intentioned anybody is on the right or the left. If they don't know me, they have no business making such important decisions for me. On the other hand, if they do know me, or at least know my family, or maybe know somebody who knows me, I am much more comfortable having them represent me, and I can even live with the fact that I don't always agree with them, because I know that I will have some degree of control over the process. If you think we as citizens have any significant degree of control over the process of what happens in Washington, you are fooling yourself.

  • Madden Herriman, UT
    June 8, 2011 10:31 a.m.

    @ER - I think you miss the point. Even the Tea Party folks, for all the media spin, are pretty reasonable and their overall agenda will line up with most of the other citizens who value common sense approaches to life and politics.

    The Tea Party is fueled by the fire of being ignored and watching politicians from the two main parties run the nation's finances into the ground. For every Tea Party quote you can find to show how "crazy" they are, you can talk to a dozen of them and realize they are pretty normal.

    The same goes for most people who affiliate with "extreme" environmental groups, anti-war efforts, etc. on the left. Most people are not crazy and extreme, they have a strong opinion on a few matters but mostly just want a decent life for them and their family.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    June 8, 2011 9:48 a.m.

    Er in AF
    I,m not following you on the marriage analogy. Candidates would campaign against each other nationally, not just to be the Republican or Democratic candidate. The choices are greater for "the bride". We are not limited to some party or caucus bosses.

  • boris Provo, UT
    June 8, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    I found it funny that the two states I have lived in and voted in are the ones the article sites as the two extremes; New York and Utah. There is a diverse range of political opinions in each place but there is also a general assumption in each of what is commonly held as the dominant perspective. The things a person can say in public or to a stranger and easily find consensus in each state is very different and I never felt quite at home with the assumed position in either. Unfortunately the two party system supports and exaggerates these generalizations and has increasingly turned the conversation of politics in our country into a game of power and influence far removed from effective governance of our collective will and resources.

  • washcomom Beaverton, OR
    June 8, 2011 8:58 a.m.

    What would happen say if we should do away with parties, and have a primary with the entire group of candidates in? Then the top 4 can do a run-off for the next 3 months, have a populous vote then. The top 2 run for the finish line, with the electoral college of non-partisans voting for their state's majority of votes for winning candidate?

    It's a sloppy idea, but I'm tired of a certain group of people always bullying around the population and their votes. It seems, many times, it doesn't really matter anyway.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    June 8, 2011 8:18 a.m.

    It's reasonable to expect that aggregating data at the state level would tend to homogenize people's viewpoints and decrease variance between states. It would be interesting to perform the same analysis on smaller geographic areas, like zip codes or voting precincts to see if the differences are more pronounced.

    Red/blue divide notwithstanding, the country is pretty evenly split down the middle: control of the House and Senate swings on a handful of seats, recent presidential elections have had hairbreadth margins (and in 2000 hung on a single Supreme Court jurist's vote). In such a context, elections are won or lost at the margins. Even if people had 99% overlap on all issues, that 1% of difference would make all the difference. If opinions within that 1% were correlated geographically, it would still be valid to speak in terms of red states and blue states, because that 1% is where all of the meaningful difference lies. The 99% commonality is irrelevant.

    Could the DesNews link to the actual article somehow? It's hidden behind a paywall at the POQ, but maybe the authors could provide a copy? Or are they embargoed by the POQ?

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    June 8, 2011 8:09 a.m.

    While the research may show there isn't a great divide between voters, watching the evening news would make you think there is that great divide. I guess there is more money to be made in exploting any conflict then there is in showing how we are united.

  • williary Kearns, UT
    June 8, 2011 7:44 a.m.

    All this study proves is that American voters, not just in Utah but all across the country in both Red and Blue states, are extremely uneducated when it comes to politics. They hear what they want from their family, a neighbor, or some media source, take that information as legitimate, and continue voting based less and less on facts.

    If each voter sat down, really researched what their personal beliefs on each issue translated to in a party/candidate, I think you'd see quite a bit of movement between Red/Blue states. Unfortunately for many Americans, whatever is easier usually wins out when it comes to politics.

  • Allen#1 West Valley, UT
    June 8, 2011 6:26 a.m.

    We MUST get rid of the outdated, evil "neighborhood caucus" system in Utah where the extremists are "selected" to be candidates to the state convention where the vocal minority decides who we can vote for in the general election (in both parties).

  • Cedarite Cedar City, UT
    June 8, 2011 6:20 a.m.

    Usually people have a range of opinions on a range of subjects, some opinions more conservative or liberal than others. This has left many of us feeling like no party represents us, since taking a hard line absolutist stance seems to be required by both parties.

  • ER in AF Belgrade, Serbia
    June 8, 2011 5:19 a.m.


    Interesting idea. Incumbents would certainly have an advantage in that system, and when change did occur there would be a greater likelihood of surprises and possible disappointment. Kinda like if we married people without dating.

    But it would affect greater change. I think politicians hate change.


    The article mentioned something I think is the most interesting point. The parties are more polarized than the citizenship. So do we really have a representative form of government if that is true?

    I might suggest that if a party is extreme then by extrapolation from the study could you say extreme parties with narrow focus like the Tea Partiers do not represent the vast middle that the authors are basically inferring?

    I think the study is saying most Americans have common standards, common values and share a common view of what makes America America. I hope so.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    June 7, 2011 6:36 p.m.

    If we did away with the primaries and used an instant runoff system we could solve the disconnect between voters and elected officials.