Boyle can build off of positive exit poll results

Published 6:43 pm Tuesday, November 12, 2019


The Advocate-Messenger

Boyle County is doing better than many when it comes to putting people in front of party. We should build on what is already a strength to become one of the least partisan places in the country.

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We reported over the weekend on an exit poll of 1,832 Boyle County voters, which provided some insight into what the local voting population is like on average.

There’s a lot that’s unsurprising: Republicans heavily favored Republican candidates; Democrats heavily favored Democratic candidates; independents split down the middle on most issues.

But there’s also a lot more going on beneath the surface.

More than one in seven Republicans voted for the Democratic candidate for governor; and the possibility that one-fifth of Republicans voted for someone other than the Republican governor (either Democrat Steve Beshear or Libertarian John Hicks) is within the exit poll’s margin of error.

Close to 40% of Democrats said they support Boyle County’s Republican Judge-Executive Howard Hunt.

Close to one in five Republicans said they have a favorable view of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Close to one in four Democrats said they would vote to re-elect Republican Congressman Brett Guthrie.

More than three in 10 Republicans said they do not support re-election for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell.

More than a third of Republicans approve of “how Robert Mueller handled the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election and Donald Trump’s possible connection.”

There’s a lot of nuance to what Boyle County voters believe and what they want to see in their elected leaders.

When you engage in election-map thinking and color everything either bright blue or bright red, you can only paint an extremely limited — and often misleading — picture.

The reality is no candidate is “just” a Republican or a Democrat; they are each a complex, real human being with strengths and weaknesses. The same is true for every voter.

Humans like to over-simplify things to make them easier to talk about, which is why something as complex as politics so often gets turned into a black-and-white argument. 

We ought to resist the urge to simplify in this case because it can be damaging. When you talk as if the world is red and blue, you can wind up believing the world is red and blue. Then, you can end up voting that way, too.

When we stop acknowledging the humanity of our leaders, we give them permission to behave like partisan jerks. When we stop acknowledging the humanity of our voters, we cheapen the democratic process.

Boyle County’s exit poll results show we are maintaining some nuance and complexity. We can build on that positive sign by continuing to take pride in our own individual views and by thinking of politicians as people, not pawns.