Last week, my column managed to upset a lot of people from all across the political spectrum. Apparently my “offensive” remarks suggested that our nation will survive regardless of who wins the presidential election this year. For activists and partisans, this was apparently too much. The pushback was so strong that I decided to find out how many people shared my view.
So, I conducted a poll for PoliticalIQ.com and found that many voters agree with my key underlying assumptions: 69% agree that politicians aren’t nearly as important as they think they are. Not only that, 57% share my view that the culture leads and the politicians lag behind. Earlier polling showed that 76% recognize that American society isn’t nearly as polarized as American politics.
On all of these points, the views are shared across partisan and demographic lines.
- Seventy-one percent of white voters agree that politicians aren’t nearly as important as they think they are. That view is shared by 67% of Black voters and 64% of Hispanic voters.
- Fifty-eight percent of Democrats agree that the culture leads and politicians lag behind. So do 56% of Republicans and 55% of independents.
- A strong majority of every measured demographic group believes American politics is more polarized than American society.
For me, those views are consistent with a belief that almost all positive change in America begins far from official Washington and outside of the political process. That’s the story of America. Whether we look at the struggles for independence, women’s suffrage, civil rights or any other great movements, they began and grew in the popular culture. They rumbled beneath the surface and gained strength long before overcoming the resistance of our political system.
More recently, we’ve seen how the entrepreneurial genius of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs has had a bigger impact on our lives than all of our recent presidents combined. My guess is that the people who are poised to truly lead our nation forward today are as unknown now as Gates and Jobs were in the 1970s.
So, I am not counting on the Red Team or the Blue Team to swoop in and save the day. That’s not their job. Yes, elections do matter. But there’s more to life and the nation than politics and elections.
Still, despite the fact that solid majorities shared some of my key assumptions, only 31% of voters share my belief that America will be OK no matter who wins. Actually, I must admit to being pleasantly surprised by that number. In the heat of a bitterly contested presidential election, I thought it might be far lower.
Still, 61% — a solid majority — disagree. And the disagreement comes from all corners of the political universe. Sixty-three percent of Democrats think I’m wrong, so do 61% of Republicans and 58% of independent voters.
I respect their views, but still hold on to my own. The fate of the nation will not be determined by who wins on Nov. 3.
Scott Rasmussen is an American political analyst and digital media entrepreneur. He is the author of “The Sun is Still Rising: Politics Has Failed But America Will Not.”