My introduction to the concept of the low information voter came in my capacity as Treasurer of Rudy Boschwitz’s 1996 campaign against then incumbent Paul Wellstone. Rudy had engaged the services of a prominent political consultant who had polled Minnesota voters on issues relevant to the race. The poll resulted in a briefly book that was a couple of inches thick, slicing and dicing the electorate with great sophisticatoin. According to the results, a small but surprisingly high percentage of Minnesota voters confused Rudy Boschwitz with the late DFL former Governor Rudy Perpich. (Governor Perpich had been out of office since 1990 and died in September 1995.)
As I recall, the confusion redounded to my friend Rudy’s benefit. Minnesota voters had good feelings about Governor Perpich. It didn’t matter. No Minnesota Republican could have knocked off Senator Wellstone that year, and he was reelected by a substantial margin.
I found the consultant’s analysis of the Minnesota electorate interesting, but what stuck in my mind was a point the consultant made about his work on behalf of Connie Mack III in the 1988 Florida Senate election of 1988. The outcome was extremely close. Mack prevailed in the race for Florida’s open Senate seat over Democrat Buddy Mackay with 50 percent of the vote. The consultant attributed Mack’s margin of victory to voters who preferred Mack to Mackay because Connie “is a woman.”
The low information voter really came into his own in the election of 2012. President Obama fashioned a brilliant campaign to take advantage of the ignorance of those not as smart as he is. We are living with the results as Obamacare is implemented this year.
According to the results of a Kaiser Family Foundation poll released yesterday, a lot of Americans haven’t gotten the news. Fewer than six in 10 Americans know that the Obamacare law is still on the books. Forty-two percent of the respondents are unsure of the status of the law, or have it wrong. Seven percent think the Supreme Court struck it down; 12 percent say Congress repealed Obamacare.
Writing at the Weekly Standard site, Geoffrey Norman observes that they are in for a rude surprise, real soon now, especially if they are single adults age 21-29 earning 300 to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. But Norman is facetiously looking on the bright side. Among the 42 percent who believe that Obamacare has gone away are many who will enroll when they get the “good news” and who will, at best, complicate the repeal of this hideous pseudolaw.