Obama for President?

Barack Obama comes out ahead as the leading choice among FedSmith readers to receive the nod as the Democratic nominee for President of the U.S.

Last week, we asked readers to participate in a survey and to vote for their preference among leading Democratic nominees for their party’s nomination. As noted in the introductory article, we will be running a similar poll and ask readers about their preference among leading Republican candidates.

The poll received an enthusiastic and sometimes an impassioned responses from readers who favor or oppose a particular candidate.

The self-identification of political affiliation of those responding was listed by readers as follows:

Democrat: 44% Republican: 26% Independent: 25% Other: 2% Don’t Know: 3%

With approximately 1400 readers responding, here are the results of the poll.

Which of the following leading candidates would receive your vote for the Democratic Party nominee to be president?

Joe Biden: 4%

Hillary Clinton: 19%

John Edwards: 18%

Barack Obama: 30%

Bill Richardson: 10%

Other: 19%

As we indicated in the introductory article, there was no hidden message in the order the candidates were listed. The list is in alphabetical order using their last name.

Some readers thought the poll was biased because it did not include Al Gore. The reason he was not listed among the candidates is because he has said he is not in the race. A few readers mentioned other candidates they preferred, such as Dennis Kucinich, but we did not include additional candidates that have not been showing a significant response in various national polls.

Some readers saw what they considered to be “political  bias” in that only Democrats were listed in the choices. An attorney with the Social Security Administration wrote: “Despite the first question that asks about party affiliation, it assumes that if one is a Federal employee, that one must ipso facto be a Democrat, because only Democrat are eligible to vote on who gets the Democratic Party nominee to be President. I don’t care much for any of these people as a potential President.”

Our assumption was that only Democrats running for the nomination would be considered as potential nominees for that party’s nomination. We will be running a similar poll for Republican nominees seeking that party’s nomination in the next few days.

No doubt, the poll results giving Barack Obama a fairly substantial lead over other nominees will surprise some readers. One reason for his early strong showing may be that his positions on various issues have not been as fullly articulated as other candidates who have been in the public eye for a longer time. No doubt, if his strong showing continues, he will be targeted by other candidates who want to portray a more negative image of his political positions.

The comments from readers also reflected some of the disadvantages of being well known and, as a result, voters having formed a strong opinion early in the political race. For example, a number of readers made negative comments about Senator Hillary Clinton while other readers were strongly in favor of her becoming the next president.

Here is a sampling of the comments submitted by readers on the various candidates.

An air traffic specialist from Fairbanks, Alaska says about Obama: “No one else comes close to being as balanced as Obama is looking. ”

A human resources specialist with the Bureau of Land Management in Portland, OR wrote: “Hillary’s a phony! The U.S. and the world needs Barack Obama to be President of the U.S.”

An accountant with Homeland Security in Montana does not intend to vote for Obama: “Call it rascist, but I wouldn’t vote for ANYBODY with a name like Barak Obama for President of America. Sorry. A little too Muslim for me.”

Some readers living in the Southeast may not agree with this analysis from a reader at DFAS in Columbus, Ohio: “I believe John Edwards will win the nomination because I think he is the only Democrat that can win over moderate Republicans and Independents in the South. Barack and Hillary can’t win the South, however, I do feel that if Barack can make it as a Vice-President then he will have a good chance of becoming President. The Southerners have to see him in an active VP capacity before they allow him to become President. ”

A supervisor with the VA in Loma Linda, CA thinks he has seen John Kennedy again: “Just listening to Senator Obama’s speach impressed me by his mention of how the US will need to work together to overcome its troubles. That willingness to include everyone and the call for everyone to accept the challenge equally brings a Kennedyesque or Lincolnesque tone to his oratory. If he can maintain the ‘work together’ attitude I believe he will be an excellent choice for president.”

A federal retiree living in Sun City, Arizona has a longing for the return of Al Gore: “I prefer Al Gore, but he was not listed!!!”

An analyst with DLA in New Cumberland, PA agrees: “I’m hoping Al Gore will run. I would probably actually vote for him (mainly because I’m not impressed with any of the Dems or Reps running right now and at least I know he cares about people and the environment).”

A computer support specialist with Health & Human Services in Anchorage, AK apparently prefers female candidates: “I’m female, democratic & would love to have our 1st female President! Hillary, You Go Girl!”

A Forest Service employee in Glenwood Springs, CO stated: “After Richardson I would go with Obama. None of the others even come close. They have all proven to be saying whatever the audience wants to hear and you can bet their agenda would be totally different if they achieved their goal.”

A program analyst from DCMA in Alexandria, VA has mixed views about Senator Clinton: “Hillary Clinton was a distinct candidate, but has started to try to appear more left leaning rahter than centrist recently. She has worked steadfastly as the junior Senator from NY to establish herslef as someone deserving of the public’s trust, but now she is opting for a different outlook, one of the many talking heads rather than one of the people. She has the better chance of succeeding if she maintains her centrist views. Time will tell.”

A unit specialist with the probation office in Jackson, MS says Senator Clinton has already been president: “It’s time for a change and that means Barack Obama. Fresh ideas and a new take of things. Hillary has already been President — it’s time to give someone else a chance.”

A budget analyst with the USDA in St. Paul, MN has a negative view of Senator Clinton: “Almost anyone but Hillary!”

President Bush was attacked in the press for calling Barack Obama “articulate.” Be that as it may, this reader from the Dept. of Labor in Chicago writes: “It will be fun watching how the powers that be in the Democratic Party deal with an articulate, dedicated, forward thinking candidate as Senator Obama, and look at what else is out there….Run, Barack, run! ”

An electronics technician with the FAA in Kansas City was one of the few showing support for Senator Joe Biden: “They all have some flaw in their postitions, but Mr. Biden is the only one I would even consider voting for. Seems like they just keep nominating the farthest left candidates they can find.”

A border patrol officer from El Paso, TX is focused on issues more than personalities: “I will vote for whomever pledges to give us the tools to enforce our immigration laws.”

A bank examiner with the FDIC prefers to discuss ideas rather than public image: “Bill Richardson gets my vote as the most experienced, level headed, leader in the group. He has executive experience as a Govenor, foreign relations expereience as an ambassador, knows an aweful lot about nuclear capabilities and is a guy who could change the tone in DC. His only problem is that he is not flashy like Obama and Clinton.”

A TSA official from Martinsburg, WV is flexible as to position as long as his candidates are running: “Like to see a Edwards/Obama or Obama/Edwards ticket.”

An IT specialist with the USDA in Kansas City favors John Edwards: “John Edwards has been working so hard. I find that he captures the true spirit of helping one another. He is not afraid to admit he was wrong about certain things. This shows courage. And, I admire people who can admit that they are still changing and growing. He wants us to help make the world a better place with real solutions.”

A claims representative from the Social Security Administration in Poughkeepsie, NY comments: “Dennis Kucincih would be my preferred candidate, but if not Kucinich I would support Edwards.”

A Navy retiree from Puyallup, WA says: “None of the leading candidates in your poll are worthy of my vote at this time. Clinton and Obama are too liberal and Biden is too unresponsible. The rest I do not know. Oh, Edwards is too liberal also.”

A human resources person with the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center in Ft. Knox, KY is not happy with the field either: “If these were the only ones to vote for, I would not vote…!”

A specialist with a rural development agency in Craig, CO is not impressed with the field of Democrats: “I’m not quite ready to vote into office a surrender to Islamic fascism and a socialist regime here in the US. I think I’ll stick with the Republicans and hope they will return to conservative agenda.”

A compliance officer from Buffalo, NY does not think too highly of the field either: “If you think the state of our nation is in bad shape just let one of these fools into office and it will be like hitting the quick flush button on the toilet.”

And an employee of the Bureau of Land Management in Durango, Colorado is probably not going to to get his wish: “I just hope they don’t resort to mud slinging.”

Thanks to all of our readers who took the time to vote in the recent poll and a special thanks to those who took the time to send in comments as well as vote in the poll.