Romney Leads in Reader Survey

Readers were given the chance to express their preference in the presidential race. Here are the results and a few representative comments.

Anytime we run a survey on an election on the website, we can expect numerous criticisms to come from all sides. The criticism can range from “Why didn’t you list (my candidate) first?” to “The survey is different from national polls so why are you favoring (the candidate I don’t like).”

The reality is that polling frustrates many of us—perhaps because one side wins and the other loses in the poll. The press has a reputation for favoring liberal political issues. That reputation has been supported in the current election as polling may be part of a political strategy on the part of those doing the polling. The oft-repeated allegation is that some organizations skew polls to show a much stronger turnout by Democrats than is realistic among actual voters. The result is to show that President Obama is leading by a wide margin in the polls when, using a different methodology, Governor Romney will come out ahead in the polls.

Each reader can reach a personal decision on the accuracy of the polls or the allegations. What we do know, from doing reader surveys over the past decade, is that federal employees often reflect opinions or trends that are reflected a short time later in national polls. My supposition is that many of our readers pay more attention to political issues than the average American. Our readers also vote in greater numbers than many other groups, perhaps because they are more directly impacted by decisions made in Congress and by an administration in their daily work. A great many of our readers also live and work in the Washington, DC metropolitan areas where government is the dominant local industry and probably form opinions and see trends quicker.

As one example, in the last survey we took prior to the 2008 election, 51% of readers said they were voting for Barack Obama and 44% said they were voting for John McCain. The actual result in the election: 52.8% for Obama and 45.6% for McCain.

In this survey of approximately 6000 readers, here are the results from our recent survey:

If the election were held today, who would receive your vote for president?

Barack Obama/Joe Biden 43.5%
Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan 51.1%
Other 5.4%

There is a lack of enthusiasm among voters this year for either candidate and a great deal of negative reaction to the candidates, the state of the nation or politics in general. You can read the comments below and reach your own conclusions.

Breakdown of Political Affiliation 

34.8% of readers responding to the survey said they are independent voters. 34% said they were Republican and 27.2% said they were Democrats. According to many observers, independent voters will be the ones who determine the winner in this year’s presidential election so we paid special note to how these voters said they would vote and their opinions of the candidates. Nationally, 37.6% of Americans reportedly consider themselves Republicans while 33.3% consider themselves to be Democrats.

More than 96% of all those responding to the survey indicated they would be voting in this year’s election.

How Democrats Will Vote This Year

Of those that identified themselves as Democrats, 90% said they vote for the Obama/Biden ticket. 7.7% said they would vote for the Romney/Ryan ticket and 7.7% selected “other” as their choice. Also, among those who said they were Democrats, 90.5% said they voted for Barack Obama in the last presidential election.

Independent Voters: What They are Thinking and How They Will Vote

Among independents, 50.1% indicated they would be voting for the Romney/Ryan ticket. 42.9% said they would vote for Obama/Biden. 96.2% of independents said they would vote; 1.4% said they would not vote and 2.5% of them have not yet decided whether to vote.

Also among this group of independent voters, 44.9% said they voted for Barack Obama in the last election. 45.2% indicated they voted for John McCain. 5% did not vote and 4.9% voted for some other candidate.

Here are several comments from independent voters:

  • We need a change for the sake of all Americans. Shameful policy from him and Sec. Of State on issues regarding the burning of the American flag and calls from Muslim terrorists of “death to America”They should be ashamed of their non response and the dumbing of the First Amendment to our Constitution, but then what else should we expect from this Socialist regime!!!
  • Obama/Biden have to go. The economy is worse since they’ve been in office.
  • Romney has written me off, along with 47% of all voting Americans.
  • Someday I actually want to vote for someone instead of the lessor of two evils.
  • If we continue on our current track of spending, this nation will destroy itself. The cure for this is going to be painful for all, but has to be done for the survival of this nation.
  • More Obama No More America
  • Mr Johnson, the former gov of Arizona will get my vote.
  • It is about time that we have a president who wants and has the abilities to be a strong leader and make some difficult decisions. Our country has developed an attitude, from years and years of government handouts, where they believe it is the federal governments responsiblity to give them things, to bail them out when they make poor decisions or take high risks. What Governor Romney stated this past week is so true-it is time to break the chain and policies of federal government handouts, and that will require strong leadership and a willingness to make difficult but not popular decisions. In the past four years, this attitude and government policies have only gotten worse with the federal government handing out billions of billions of dollars and running the federal debt into a deeper hole. This must change if our federal leaders are ever to get hold on the budget and federal debt.
  • Would prefer a category of “None of the above”
  • If we get people back to full time work and don;t spend money faster then we get it the country will inprove. Our managers are trying to bankrupt the country so they can declare marshall law and become dictators.
  • We need campaign reform so that we can get 3rd parties. Dems and Republicans are corporate/elite controlled via Citizen’s United legislation but Rep more so than Dems. Not the best choices.
  • We have to get rid of this lying, deceitful, ignorant non-American traitor.
  • The most important issue is the cost of health care, not health care coverage.
  • Equal to the economy is our embarrasing foreigh policy. We have become the laughing stock of the World.
  • We need a leader and we have these two clowns – it’ll be a close call as to who I vote for.

Among those who identified themselves as Republicans, 96.6% indicated they will vote in the upcoming election. 2.2% have not yet decided if they will vote and 1.1% indicated they will not vote.

87.2% of these readers said they voted for John McCain in the last election and 7.4% voted for Barack Obama. 3.9% did not vote and 1.5% voted for another candidate. 87.6% said they would be voting for Romney/Ryan; 8.1% indicated they would vote for Obama/Biden; and 4.3% said they will vote for another candidate.

About Those “Undecided Voters”

A small percentage of voters are still undecided but, in a close election, they could determine the outcome of the election if they turn out to cast a ballot. In our survey, 35.4% of undecided voters said they were independent voters; 31.3% said they were Republican and 13.9% are Democrats.

If they do vote, 51.4% say they will vote for “other” rather than either major party candidate. 22.2% would vote for Romney/Ryan and 26.4% would vote for Obama/Biden.

Here are some of their comments:

  • I don’t think it really matters. The system is out of control.
  • Being a federal employee and retired military, I lose either way. I’m trying to figure out who’s Peter and who’s Paul, so I can decide who’s going to be robbed and who’s going to be paid.
  • I don’t like either choice at this point, but maybe the devil I know is better than a devil I don’t know.
  • This country is in real trouble and we have no one that can lead.
  • This election year perhaps offers us the worst possible selection of candidates. I seriously almost don’t want to vote. Our country is going to hell in a handbasket and I doubt that either candidate can hasten the trip!
  • I can’t believe with all of the people in the United States that these two are the best we have to represent America. Both parties need to get off their butts and start doing some REAL work at fixing the economy and everything else that’s broke. American’s pay way to much for the lousy service we have received the past dozen years or so.
  • I would love to vote for somebody else because current choices suck big time!

Of course, events can occur between now and the election in November, as demonstrated by the murder of the American ambassador in Libya and the uprisings in the Middle East. Events such as this can alter the opinion of enough voters to sway the election one way or the other.

Our thanks to all of our readers who took the time to participate in this survey and a special thanks to those who took the time to send in their comments as well.

About the Author

Ralph Smith has several decades of experience working with federal human resources issues. He has written extensively on a full range of human resources topics in books and newsletters and is a co-founder of two companies and several newsletters on federal human resources. Follow Ralph on Twitter: @RalphSmith47