Election Fatigue

Posted on October 27, 2010


I’ve been talking to voters in Worcester County, Maryland, nearly every day since mid-August, and here’s how the mood has changed.

Before the September primary, voters were relaxed and friendly. If they were angry about politics in general, they were civil and friendly when talking face-to-face.

After the primary, I found many voters were increasingly serious about the November election. Many wanted to vent at length their frustration with government and politics. They usually had serious statements to make about their point of view.

Increasingly, in the past two weeks, I find voters are just sick and tired of the endless political news. Many last week were angry about frequent robo calls and negative advertising. This week, many just plain don’t want to hear or say another word about politics.

Part of the difference may be the change of seasons, from relaxed summer to busy fall. Kids are back in school and no one is on vacation. They are preoccupied with work, or lack of work.

This week, since the Washington Post and Baltimore Sun polls both showing Gov. Martin O’Malley 14 points ahead of Bob Ehrlich, I’m getting the sense that some Republicans are spitting mad because their hopes for Ehrlich are being dashed. Since Ehrlich is almost certain not to win, I have a gut feeling that some Republicans are going to express their anger and disappointment by not voting at all. I hope that Democrats do not become overconfident.

I hope both Democrats and Republicans will continue going to the polls in the numbers we have seen in early voting. Here on the Eastern Shore, the Congressional race between Frank Kratovil and Andy Harris is too close to call.  All the state legislative races in District 38 are likely to be close, and possibly some of the county commissioner races.

Early voting continues in Maryland on Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Thursday is the final day of early voting, then prepare for a weekend of nonstop campaigning leading up to Election Day next Tuesday.

— John Hayden