The voting public changes hearts
Like tossing dice or throwing darts;
The candidates who join this dance,
Who studiously act their parts
Can’t see this isn’t real romance
But merely just the whims of chance
The process seems to be designed
To favor those who change their minds
Depending on some small demand—
It’s not a rarity to find
A vote because of shaken hand,
Or baby kissed, or pamphlet scanned
It’s claimed that early states can play
A greater role, because they pay
Attention to the things they ought,
And (so the states’ supporters say)
They give the issues proper thought,
Legitimizing battles fought
But looking at the polls this year
No candidate is breaking clear
So… Are these voters unaware?
Or might it be, as some may fear,
No candidate campaigning there
Has done enough to make them care.
Some musings, after the jump:
As we enter the final death throes of the Iowa caucus season, and approach the New Hampshire primary, the two states are engaged in their quadrennial justification dance, explaining to the rest of the nation why it is that they deserve their early status (and the infusion of dollars that represents every 4 years). The mythology is that they have proven their worth, have shown that they are able to critically analyze the candidates in a manner a larger state could not.
Except that this year, their polling is not that far removed from chance. Nearly every candidate has been the frontrunner for a bit, and the radio this morning claims a statistical dead heat at this late date between Romney and Paul, with Santorum a closing third (NPR did not claim Santorum was “surging from behind”, as other outlets did).
In science, as we look more closely, with more controls, at a phenomenon, one of two things happens. If it is real, it shows up more clearly. If it is not, it fades into random noise. What might have looked promising, turns out to be something, or nothing. In Iowa, it appears that the Republican field is turning out to be nothing. I don’t know which would be worse news for Iowa–for them to rightly report to the nation “the candidates suck”, or to admit their inability to find something healthy among all the weeds.