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Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008

You predicted Obama would win Wisconsin and the presidency

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After a very long campaign and an unprecedented amount of attention, the 2008 presidential election is finally over. According to the survey from last week’s cover story, conducted before the election, here’s what you thought about it:

Who You Are

Two-thirds of you supported either Barack Obama or John McCain in the presidential primary.

Less than 10% made up their minds in the last month.

Obama was strongly favored by Shepherd readers, having received 68% of your support. McCain received 24% of your votes, and third-party candidates reaped 7% of your votes. Only 2% of you said you wouldn’t vote at all.

That correlates with your political activity and interests. Sixty-six percent of those surveyed said that they were involved in some way in the campaign—the most popular option was posting a yard sign or wearing some campaign swag.

And the Winner Is…

Obama.

A whopping 93% of you said Obama would win Wisconsin, either in a landslide or in a squeaker. Eighty-three percent predicted an Obama win nationally.

You predicted that young people (79%) and African Americans (61%) would support Obama in large numbers. An additional 25% said that while African Americans would turn up in strength at the polls, Republican officials and lawyers would attempt to suppress or deny African- American voters from casting ballots.

Two-thirds said that McCain would earn the evangelical vote, mostly because of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s place on the ticket. Seventy-seven percent said that McCain has not worked hard enough to reach out to minority voters.

Your reaction was mixed regarding the potential impact of electing the nation’s first biracial president. If Obama was elected, 38% of you said race relations would not be affected because the United States is too deeply racially divided. But 33% of you said that an Obama victory would benefit race relations because African Americans and other minorities would have more opportunities to reach the highest levels of success and white Americans would have to reject their racist beliefs once and for all.

The Candidates

If McCain had listened to Shepherd readers, he would have changed his nickname.

Only 28% of you said he’s a maverick, while 42% said his “maverickness” was a media creation, and 30% said McCain had been a maverick as a senator but not as a presidential candidate.

On the other hand, 42% of you said that Obama really is “change we can believe in,” while 25% said he’s more of the same. (The rest of you think he’s only a change when compared to President Bush.)

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin doesn’t get a vote of confidence from Shepherd readers. Half of you said that there were more qualified Republicans who should have been on the ticket with McCain, while only 7% of you said she was a popular governor who would make a good vice president.

You said that Palin’s biggest exaggeration or untruth was her argument that Alaska’s proximity to Russia makes her a foreignpolicy expert (37%), followed by her lack of understanding of the vice president’s duties (23%).

And what’s the big deal about Joe Biden saying “Mark my words. It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy”? Twothirds of you thought Biden’s statement was logical, while 24% of you thought that it showed that Obama is “untested” and would place our nation’s security at risk.

The Long Campaign

The vast majority of Shepherd readers would like to change the way we elect the president. Sixty-eight percent of you said the Electoral College should be abolished in favor of choosing the president by the popular vote. Seventy-six percent said that the Democratic Party should scrap the superdelegate system that allows party insiders to deny the will of the grassroots.

That said, 70% stated that Obama beat Hillary Clinton fair and square, mostly because she hadn’t planned for a post-Super Tuesday ground game, as Obama had.

Almost half said the Democratic convention was a success because it unified the party. But 35% said that the convention was overshadowed by the introduction of Palin as McCain’s running mate the morning after Obama’s acceptance speech.

The reaction was more mixed regarding the effectiveness of the Republican convention. Forty-five percent said it succeeded in energizing the party’s base, but 41% said the speakers’ right-wing rhetoric turned off moderate and independent voters.

More than half of you like presidential debates because they provide voters with a clear comparison of the candidates, and 23% said debates help to draw attention to the campaigns. A quarter of you said they’re a waste of time. Just over half of respondents said that candidates’ visits to Wisconsin are important, while 65% said that endorsements mean nothing to you. (And not one person admitted that celebrity endorsements affect you at all.)

Your Reactions

Hands down, your favorite moment of the campaign was Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic convention 45 years after Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. A distant second was McCain’s introduction of Palin just one day later.

More than a third of you got angry when Republicans insulted community organizers, people with “anti-American” views, socialists and liberals. Another 23% got angriest when McCain and Palin’s supporters shouted inflammatory comments about Obama.

And 69% said that the McCain/Republican National Committee robocalls linking Obama to Bill Ayers were sleazy and would backfire on McCain. Only 9% said the message was valid and would help Republicans.

Your favorite viral video was a compilation of McCain’s reactions during the final debate (37%), followed by McCain saying he wouldn’t mind being in Iraq for another 100 years (22%).

The too-crazy-to-be-true stories you followed most closely were Obama’s connections to “domestic terrorists” (35%) and Sarah Palin’s messy family life (32%).

You also said that the issue that the corporate media needlessly overplayed was Joe the Plumber (36%), indicating that the Ohio media darling’s 15 minutes of fame are already up. And while the media loved Joe the Plumber, almost half of you said that you wanted to hear more about the issues. You said the top overlooked issue was how the next president would restore civil liberties after eight years of the Bush administration.

What’s your take? Write: editor@shepex.com or comment on this story online at www.expressmilwaukee.com.