Posted by: jennajournalism | July 19, 2009

What Do We Know About Our Candidates’ Stances?

Reading this article I realized that I too fell into the trap of not being able to distinguish between Obama and McCain’s policy intiatives. Looking at social stances, I could tell the difference, but certainly not on specifics outlining each candidate’s plans for healthcare reform, for example.

It got me thinking about how I make decisions when voting. Example – the presidential primary. I took alot of tests and read a lot of charts emphasizing the candidates’ differences on policies and how much weight they gave to each issue.  I made my decision from learning about and being able to distinguish between the candidates’ policy initiatives. But when it  came to the general election, I basically voted along party lines — almost like I didn’t need to know the difference between McCain and Obama’s policies. I was (and am) rather uninformed about their differences. But was that my fault — I didn’t seek out the info — or did the media not bring those issues to the forefront? And if they did, would it have mattered to voters, many of whom were voting along party lines? It’s another way of thinking – maybe the media doesn’t provide many stories on candidates’ policy differences because they figure on the national stage, people vote by party inclinations……

How did you make your decision in the presidential primaryand/or general election?



  1. You’re totally right–and that article also got me thinking about the current coverage of Obama’s health plan. It seems that most of the articles spend more time talking about who’s saying what about whom than dissecting the plan and critiquing the policymakers.

    I guess it’s kind of a chicken-and-the-egg question: is the media at fault for focusing on the “wrong” topics and issues, or are we, as news consumers, not demanding the information that would help us make better choices and form wiser opinions?

    As for your actual question, Jenna–I can’t vote, so I can’t really answer it.

    But if I had been able to, my vote definitely would have been based on those shallow impressions I had formed over the months. I believed what I wanted to, selectively reading the coverage and deciding who I supported from that. Like you, I’m not sure if I should place blame on myself or the media for that decision. The outcome is the same, so perhaps the responsibility doesn’t make a difference. Either way, I was (and remain) uninformed.

  2. Good discussion – I hope we can pick up from this on Wednesday

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