Political Blood Lines

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Earlier this month, Harris Interactive released a study that draws a connection between political parties and personal relationships. The poll of 2,555 U.S. adults revealed that most of the respondents said a majority of their family and friends supported the same political party they support. This seems to prove a point that we have seen throughout our work with Zogby International, a political polling firm in Utica, New York, that people are either Democrat or Republican and they don't particularly care about the candidate or the issues. They pick a party line and vote that way. No matter the question, the candidate, or the issue at hand, people will try to answer the question in whatever way they think their party's candidate would answer.

In June we asked respondents from either side of the party line to comment on the morality of politicians who were caught committing unethical behavior. The two questions that jumped out, as they are about very similar situations, is one which asked about Hillary Clinton's commodities trading based on advice from the general council of Tyson Foods while Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas. And, the other question asked about when George Bush was the director at Harken Energy and sold his shares in the company shortly before the company reported a loss. The average response across all voters to the Clinton question was that 35 percent thought it was an immoral situation, and 45 percent thought the Bush situation was immoral. However when we look at the responses based on party affiliation the disparity between the responses are almost mirror images of each other. Forty-seven percent of Republicans said they thought Clinton was immoral, while only 25 percent of Democrats felt the same way. On the other hand, 56 percent of Democrats thought that Bush's actions at Harken were immoral and only 30 percent of Republicans agreed. The data we received on these questions act to prove just how blindly partisan voters are. These two situations could not be more similar and at the same time the responses could not be as perfectly mirror opposites.

Regardless of political stance and how it's developed, be it through influence from family and friends or peer pressure to have political views that mimic the platform of one party or the other, people are rooted so deeply in their political beliefs and are not going to change. And the debates, the campaign adds, even the claims about what they will do when they are elected will have very little effect on those voters that identify themselves as members of one of the two major political parties.

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