When beginning these interviews I went in with preconceived notions of who I thought would vote for whom. For example, I assumed that my African-American interviewee would vote for Kerry, as would my Hispanic interviewees. I also assumed that the Japanese interviewee would be a Bush supporter as would my Libertarian interviewee. My initial feelings were about 50% correct. What I did find was that the difference between people who plan to vote for Bush and those who plan to vote for Kerry seem to follow socio-economic lines, regardless of ethnic origin, and that those who plan to vote Democratic were less flexible in whom they would vote for. I have divided the interviewees into three groups -- Democrat, Republican and Libertarian and have highlighted the issues that cause them to vote the way they do.
The sample consists of eight individuals. The demographics break down as follows. D.M. is a 75-year-old male. He is a retired union, assembly-line worker. K.H. is a 30-year-old mother and short-order cook. She is not registered to vote, but plans vote in the 2004 presidential elections. L.D. is a married with one child, white, upper middle-class, graphic designer. A.C. is an African-American single mother of two who works as a secretary. R.Y. immigrated to the United States in the mid-eighties from Japan. She a middle-class, stay-at-home mom. V.R. is a Cuban grandmother in her mid-sixties. She and her husband are retired university Spanish professors. A.A. is Brazilian, network engineer for a Fortune 500 company who came legally to the United States in the early eighties. E.G. owns a P.R. firm, is married with no children. Her parents were Holocaust survivors.
Of the sample group, four consider themselves to be Democrats -- D.M., K.H., A.C. And R.Y. None have college degrees and all claim to base their ideas on network television and what they hear their friends and family say. When asked why they are Democrats, the four had different reasons. For example, D.M., the retired union employee states, "My dad was a Democrat, so I have always felt loyal to the party. After I joined the union, way back when, I let my democratic roots take hold because to vote Republican would undermine my livelihood, because, as you know, Republicans hate unions." K.H. admits that she does not follow politics much. She voted for Al Gore in the last election because, "he really understands what it's like to be poor. I think John Kerry does too. I have children and I've got to vote for someone who will look out for me. If it were up to Bush, he'd just let me starve." A.C. says she always votes for Democrats because the Republicans are all rich and want the rich to get richer. When I asked for an example, she could not supply one. "I don't listen to the news much, but everybody knows that." When asked about who would be better on the war on terror, she said, "nobody else, I mean, other countries don't think terrorism is something to go to war for so I think this whole thing is a way for big oil companies to get money." R.Y. claims to be Independent, but she plans to vote Democratic. She is concerned her husband will lose his job because of Bush's economy and she says that President Bush lied to the American people about Iraq. "I don't like Kerry either, but he promises to create more jobs and get us out of Iraq." In the interview I pointed to the recent unemployment figures. She had not heard about them, but said she probably would not change her mind. "I don't know. I just hate George Bush."
The next three, L.D., V.R. And A.A, consider themselves Republicans and plan to vote for Bush in the next election. Interestingly, these three have college degrees and all claim to keep up with current events and politics through a variety of sources, including cable news, talk radio and the Internet. L.D. comes from a family of democratic activists. "While I continue to vote for Democrats on the local level, I feel the perspectives of the Republican party are more in tune with my beliefs." In the interview, she offered that she was strongly pro-choice. "The fact that Republicans are normally pro-life doesn't affect my vote. Roe v. Wade isn't going away anytime soon." When asked about…