According to this, Bush still leads Kerry, even after the first debate, which, judging from the polls I've seen, Kerry won.
So with the polls still favoring Bush, many believe that Kerry's chances depend on Dems getting out the vote - especially first time voters, or those who almost never bother to vote. According to this Washington Post story, "Kerry is particularly popular among occasional voters -- a sign that the election may hinge for Kerry on his campaign's ability to get newly registered voters and those with only a spotty voting record to go to the polls."
And that really bothers me, because that means that people who are either clueless or simply couldn't care less could just make the difference in this election.
Here's an example of the kind of voter I'm talking about. The Daily Kos site posted an email from a dad who described his 19-year-old son walking into the room for the first 10 minutes of the debate. At that point, reports proud papa, the 19-year old says, "Dad, can I vote?" Dad says, yes, you have to register first, but you are eligible to vote. Son next queries, "Is the tall dude Kerry?"
OK, now at this point I have to take a deep breath before I go over the edge, so I can summarize what we've learned so far: Teenage kid, who doesn't know the legal voting age, also doesn't know which of the two "dudes" at the presidential debate actually is the President.
But that's not the best part, oh, no. The best part is that this 19-year-old was able to decide, after 10 minutes of the debate, that he wanted to vote for Kerry. As he so eloquently put it, "Because, I can tell if they were both captured by terrorists Kerry would keep telling them to go f*** themselves, and Bush would cry like a baby and tell them anything they wanted to know."
So he doesn't know anything about our voting system, who our President is, what the issues are, but he's such an astute judge of character that after 10 minutes of a televised debate, he wants to vote for the tall one.
I just re-read the comments thread on Daily Kos. Most of the comments were of the "Right on!" variety, which is in itself pathetic. However, toward the end, the dad posted again, defending his child from those few who had said some disparaging things about him. Apparently this kid had a very tough early life. He was abused, was in foster care, then a group home, had a bunch of diagnoses. At about age 16, the dad who wrote the email took him in as a foster child. The dad said some very nice things about the kid, which reflect well on both of them. They may very well be good-hearted people, and I wish them all the best.
OK. That STILL doesn't mean I'm happy that this completely uninformed kid is going to vote in the election for President of the United States of America.
The other thing that bothered me about the Daily Kos thread was the dishonest attitude expressed by several posters. Here are a couple examples from that thread:
1) One poster had doubt about the veracity of the 19-year-old-voter story, but said: "it's suspicious... but we can certainly start the meme ourselves. We don't need to pretend some 19-year old said it."
So what if it isn't true? Make it up, according to him.
2) Another poster congratulated those who cheated in online polls as to who won the debate:
"Nice work everybody who was hitting these polls. I think the freepers [Free Republic posters] were up all night after the debate but they just weren't making a dent. I kept deleting my cookie and revoting in the MSNBC poll."Oh swell, we've got voter fraud, and it's not even November 2 yet. No, of course those online polls don't matter, but what does matter is the attitude that cheating is OK; the end justifies the means.