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What makes a Nader voter tick?

A survey. His questions contain too many assumptions, but apparently he really does want to know.
CounterPunch

March 18, 2004

A Survey
What Makes a Nader Voter Tick?
By GREG BATES

I am writing a book that looks at Ralph Nader's bid for the Presidency and I need 5 minutes of your time--if you intend to or are likely to vote for him. I have talked to a lot of people about this, and while many stand against him, some favor his run while saying they won't vote for him. Others say they are pretty sure or very interested in voting for him. I want to find out, among those already likely to vote for him, why they think this is a good idea or could be a good idea.

Below is a list of 6 standard arguments against his run. I don't write them to persuade you but I want to know what makes a Ralph voter tick--what are your answers to the ways Democrats and many progressives see this issue.

This is not a scientific survey. This has not been previously reviewed by anyone at the Nader campaign.

Please respond to  gbates@commoncouragepress.com

I am counting on those who don't qualify (those who intend at this point to vote for someone else) not to gum up my inbox with answers. Thanks. To fill out the survey you don't have to have your mind made up, just be clearly leaning in that direction. You have to be eligible to vote in the U.S.

Some personal data can help clarify who the Nader voters are (we will keep this confidential and you don't have to give name or address). All questions are optional--answer any you wish leaving others blank. But more is better.

1. What state do you live in?

2. As of this date, do you consider yourself to be in a swing state?

3. What is your gender?

4. What ethnic background do you identify as?

5. How old are you?

6. Did you vote for Nader in 2000?

7. Are you leaning toward voting for Ralph?

Six reasons not to vote Nader--what are your responses? (I ask loaded questions in hopes of inciting your best answers.)

1. Only one of two people will become president, Kerry or Bush. Why waste time voting (or working) for someone else?

2. One person said "I will vote for Kerry if he is just 1 degree to the left of Bush. Given what is at stake, why won't you?"

3. If you agree that Getting Bush out is the top priority, why focus on any other candidate besides Kerry?

4. Nader could be doing something more useful, and touring the country, but not as a candidate. Do you agree>

5. Since getting Bush out is priority 1, why can't you think strategically?

6. Don't you realize how awful and dangerous 4 more years of Bush would be?

And a positive question:

7. What is the most important reason you are likely to vote for Nader?

By answering these 7 questions you get the chance to help the world understand what it is having trouble understanding. And maybe convince some readers.

Thanks. I won't be able to respond to the questionnaires but I value your answers. Please respond before April 1, the cut off date. Please don't respond later than April 1.

Feel free to forward to other like-minded Nader backers. I'm looking for as many responses from Nader supporters as possible.

Thanks for your time.

Greg Bates

respond to  gbates@commoncouragepress.com

homepage: homepage: http://naderoregon.org/

Read it and weep 18.Mar.2004 19:30

K-24

1. Only one of two people will become president, Kerry or Bush. Why waste time voting (or working) for someone else?

Keeps Bush in Office

2. One person said "I will vote for Kerry if he is just 1 degree to the left of Bush. Given what is at stake, why won't you?"

Keeps Bush in Office

3. If you agree that Getting Bush out is the top priority, why focus on any other candidate besides Kerry?

Keeps Bush in Office

4. Nader could be doing something more useful, and touring the country, but not as a candidate. Do you agree>

No would not drive votes away from Kerry

5. Since getting Bush out is priority 1, why can't you think strategically?

I like to be rad-it -cal

6. Don't you realize how awful and dangerous 4 more years of Bush would be?

Yep

And a positive question:

7. What is the most important reason you are likely to vote for Nader?

To help pass the Constution Reformation Act of 2004 and destroy all freedom in America

Uh 18.Mar.2004 20:04

leading questions

I will probably not vote Nader (though I did in 2000), but your survey is horribly biased and not likely to get you the responses or answers you want. Personally, I found your survey sort of offensive, and was considering responding until I saw how negative it was.

If you REALLY want answers, why not phrase the questions differently. You can ask the same questions, just don't do it in such a condescending way.

1. Only one of two people will become president, Kerry or Bush. Why waste time voting (or working) for someone else?

Obviously, respondents do not feel it is a waste of time. Why not just change this to "Why vote (or work) for someone else?" It's the same question, but doesn't treat the respondent like a moron.

2. One person said "I will vote for Kerry if he is just 1 degree to the left of Bush. Given what is at stake, why won't you?"

This one is probably okay.

3. If you agree that Getting Bush out is the top priority, why focus on any other candidate besides Kerry?

This one is probably okay, too, but it argues that getting Bush out is the top priority. Most Nader voters probably don't agree, so this question doesn't even apply to them.

4. Nader could be doing something more useful, and touring the country, but not as a candidate. Do you agree?

Probably okay.

5. Since getting Bush out is priority 1, why can't you think strategically?

This is the worst one of all, IMO. First of all, as mentioned, most Nader voters disagree that getting Bush out is priority 1. The second part is completely condescending. How about "If you agree that getting Bush out is the top priority, what makes voting Nader a good strategy?" SAME QUESTION, but you don't call your reader an idiot when yuo ask it.

6. Don't you realize how awful and dangerous 4 more years of Bush would be?

Again, implies that you know something that the reader doesn't (because the reader is an idiot?). How about "Presumably, you agree that 4 more years of Bush would be awful and dangerous. Why do you think voting Nader is more important than that?" That's still somewhat condescending. A less confrontational way (but it changes the question somewhat) might be "Do you agree that four more years of Bush will be awful and dangerous?"

I hope you can see after reading my re-writing that your questions were pretty confrontational. Hopefully with some rewrites you can get more useful responses.


Want it all 18.Mar.2004 20:51

Terry

I vote for Nader because I want it all or I want nothing!-err, in this case less than nothing.

Well now see... 18.Mar.2004 20:56

George Bender

That's what I'm TALKIN' about. A survey on what makes Nader voters tick, and we get three responses from people who are not going to vote for Nader.

Here are my responses, from the email I sent the author. I added income and class to his questions, because that is what determines how I vote.


1. What state do you live in?
Oregon

2. As of this date, do you consider yourself to be in a
swing state?
Yes

3. What is your gender?
Male

4. What ethnic background do you identify as?
Caucasian

5. How old are you?
64

6. Did you vote for Nader in 2000?
Yes, and in 1996. Before that I voted for Democrats.

7. Are you leaning toward voting for Ralph?
Will definitely vote for him.

8. Income?
About $8,000 a year, Social Security plus food stamps.

9. Class?
Working


1. Only one of two people will become president, Kerry or
Bush. Why waste time voting (or working) for someone else?

It's not a waste of time. Supporting Kerry or Bush is a
waste of time

2. One person said "I will vote for Kerry if he is just 1
degree to the left of Bush. Given what is at stake, why
won't you?"

If we keep voting for the lessor of two evils, evil is all
we'll get.

3. If you agree that getting Bush out is the top priority,
why focus on any other candidate besides Kerry?

I don't agree.

4. Nader could be doing something more useful, and touring
the country, but not as a candidate. Do you agree?

What he's doing is the most useful thing he could do.
People who ask this question aren't being real, they just
want Nader to go away.

5. Since getting Bush out is priority 1, why can't you think
strategically?

It's not my first priority. I am thinking strategically,
it's just that my objectives are different from yours.

6. Don't you realize how awful and dangerous 4 more years of
Bush would be?

I didn't like the 8 years under Clinton/Gore either. Kerry
is Clinton redux. I've lived under Democratic and Republican
presidents, and haven't seen much difference. Neither party
supports working-class people like me. By the way, you
should have included class and income in your questions above
as to who we are. For me, this is mostly about economics
and inequality.

And a positive question:

7. What is the most important reason you are likely to vote
for Nader?

To hurt the Democrats and force them left. I'm tired of
being ignored and screwed by the Democrats. They've
betrayed us too many times. Kerry voted for NAFTA, the
Welfare Reform Act, the Patriot Act and war with Iraq. He,
and the Democrats who choose him in the primaries, must be
taught not to do it again. I'm also quite angry because I'm
on the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) and won't be after July
because Democrats in the state legislature sold us out and
voted for cuts in human services.

That's the main reason, but I also want to have progressive
issues included in the presidential campaign and build up
the left in this country.

As a former Democrat, I want a divorce. I'm not voting for
any more fucking Democrats.

What is surprising to me is that Democrats don't get it.
Our views are widely available. Why is a survey like this
even needed? It seems to me that Democrats can't understand
what we're saying because they just can't believe it. They
put out their stuck record blah-blah-blah, we respond, they
repeat the blah-blah-blah. When we still don't agree they
try to TELL us what our motives are or what Nader's motives
are. If they can't understand where we're coming from, then
it must be "ego." After hearing a little of that bullshit
we decide there is no point in talking to Democrats. The
only way Democrats will get it is if we impose enough pain
on them. As one Green wrote, "The problem is not that we
hurt the Democrats in 2000, the problem is that we didn't
hurt them enough."


I was going to respond... 18.Mar.2004 23:29

GRINGO STARS

...but then I read what George Bender wrote, and I would have answered the same way. Bravo, George.

The only difference being that I don't care about the Democrats. If they won't be forced left (I seriously doubt they ever will), I would gladly vote for some other party. The Socialist party perhaps, any party that supports working people and is anti-war and pro-civil rights. The Democrats brought the US into WWI, WWII, Vietnam, Korea - they are not at all anti-war.The only difference between Kerry and Bush is that Kerry is apparently even more wealthy than Bush.

The poll-maker is fantastically unstrategic if (s)he thinks that voting will have any real effect on "our" plutocracy. The last so-called "election" demonstrated that pretty well. Unplug yourself from the matrix.

The only real effect of Nader running is that the craven, obedient official-mouthpiece corporate media will report on things that Nader say. Even though they frame things in an unflattering way to a more humane system of government, the people consuming the news media will briefly hear of another possibility.

My response 19.Mar.2004 02:41

Jimmy Row

1. "What state do you live in?" Oregon
2. "As of this date, do you consider yourself to be in a swing state?" No, I expect Oregon to be solidly for Kerry.
3. "What is your gender?" Male.
4. "What ethnic background do you identify as?" I'd rather identify as internationalist. But, I am ethnically european.
5. "How old are you?" 51
6. "Did you vote for Nader in 2000?" Yes
7. "Are you leaning toward voting for Ralph?" Yes

1. "Only one of two people will become president, Kerry or Bush. Why waste time voting (or working) for someone else?"

Kerry stands for Empire, right along side Bush.
Kerry and Bush merely contend to administer of the empire.
YOU waste time by focusing on the wrong issue.

2. "One person said "I will vote for Kerry if he is just 1 degree to the left of Bush. Given what is at stake, why won't you?"

Because I am not a fuzzy brained liberal.
It is not a matter of position on some kind of linear scale.
It is a matter of which side are you on.
Kerry is on the wrong side of the big question: empire.

3. "If you agree that Getting Bush out is the top priority, why focus on any other candidate besides Kerry?"

I emphatically do NOT agree that that is the top priority.
The top priority is smashing the empire.

4. "Nader could be doing something more useful, and touring the country, but not as a candidate. Do you agree?"

Maybe. But, who are you to say?
Maybe the most useful thing he could be doing is shaking up fuzzy brained liberals.
I like having somebody discussing some of the real issues, even if he is marginalized, spun and distorted.

5. "Since getting Bush out is priority 1, why can't you think strategically?"

What strategy do you refer to? You confuse strategy and tactics.
The strategic issue is how fight the empire.
How to respond to the capitalist election is a tactical issue that must be judged in the context of the strategic goal.

6. "Don't you realize how awful and dangerous 4 more years of Bush would be?"

Yes. Don't you realize how awful and dangerous Kerry's administration would be?

7. "What is the most important reason you are likely to vote for Nader?"

I have two really important reasons:

1. It is probably the best thing in the context of the capitalist election to oppose the empire.
2. It is good to spit in the face of the arrogant liberals who suppress and marginalize my opinions and claim the right to my support because they claim to be better than the republicans.

"By answering these 7 questions you get the chance to help the world understand what it is having trouble understanding."

Who are you to speak for the world? Do not confuse the understanding of the corporate "popular" media with the understanding of the people of the world.

Voting 19.Mar.2004 07:33

mamabahama

Voting in states that have Diebold voting machines is a waste of time. The global elite will have the president they want whether you want him or not. Does anyone's vote count anymore? Does it really seem feasible that Kerry won the black vote in Missippi? The elections, including the primaries are rigged from start to finish. Doesn't it strike anyone strange that we have two Skull and Bones cadidates involved in the presidential race? I would love to see Nader win, however I do not believe that the total votes reported actually represent the true will of the people anymore.

diebold state 19.Mar.2004 10:23

former voter

Who would Diebold's owners elect for President? That really is the question, now isn't it.
I don't believe that African Americans as a voting block supported Kerry any more than I believe they didn't vote for Gore in Florida's stolen election.
So the question do we still have honest elections? Is the only issue.

Better Questions for Greg Bates 19.Mar.2004 11:56

Nader Voter

Why are you asking such a stupid question?
Why don't you respect the vote of everyone equally?
Why don't you try asking "What makes a Kerry voter tick?"

More Questions for Greg Bates 19.Mar.2004 12:39

Nader Voter

Why are Nader supporters the only voters who have to justify their votes?
Why aren't Bush voters browbeaten as much as Nader voters for thier choice?
Does berating and scapegoating Nader voters really get them to vote Democratic?

Wild Greens 19.Mar.2004 18:56

LB

1. What state do you live in?
Oregon

2. As of this date, do you consider yourself to be in a
swing state?

Yes

3. What is your gender?
Male

4. What ethnic background do you identify as?

Pacifican/Cascadian

5. How old are you?
25

6. Did you vote for Nader in 2000?

Yes. Also in 1996 when I had my first chance to vote.

7. Are you leaning toward voting for Ralph?

Will definitely vote for him.

8. Income?

About $10,000 a year.

9. Class?

Working

1. Only one of two people will become president, Kerry or
Bush. Why waste time voting (or working) for someone else?

So, you give me the choice of Mussolini or Hitler and tell me to vote for and work for one or the other?

Supporting Kerry is akin to supporting Mussolini.

I will not waste my time campaigning for anyone, electorial politics is a shell game. Nader gets my protest vote.

2. One person said "I will vote for Kerry if he is just 1 degree to the left of Bush. Given what is at stake, why won't you?"

Yeh and Stalin is way to the left of Bush, I would not have supported that authoritorian either.

What is at stake is continuing to allow two corporate fascists to dominate our lives. Voting is not going to change that. I'll be in the streets.

3. If you agree that getting Bush out is the top priority,
why focus on any other candidate besides Kerry?

I do not support rearranging the furniture in the titanic. Abolishing corporations and direct democracy are my top priorities.

4. Nader could be doing something more useful, and touring
the country, but not as a candidate. Do you agree?

Perhaps, he could be calling for revolution and building toward that aim. However, I suggest that would piss off the authoritorian liberal intelligencia even more.

5. Since getting Bush out is priority 1, why can't you think
strategically?

I do not support rearranging the furniture in the titanic. Abolishing corporations and direct democracy are my top priorities. I am thinking more strategically than that.

6. Don't you realize how awful and dangerous 4 more years of
Bush would be?

Of course as was the eight years under Clinton/Gore. Kerry would continue that tradition.

That is why I'll be in the streets opposing both corporate candidates

7. What is the most important reason you are likely to vote
for Nader?

As a protest against corporate governance. You can not vote out corporate control, we must seize autonomy for ourselves.

8. "By answering these 7 questions you get the chance to help the world understand what it is having trouble understanding. And maybe convince some readers."

What claim do you have for speaking for the world? Do you think the majority of the world considers victory for Kerry the top priority or has even heard of Ralph Nader?

I leave with a quote from yourself, Greg Bates, "Some ask why we do this work.
We ask a different question: How can we not?"

Here are some suggestions for organizing change:  http://www.aia.mahost.org/index.html