1972 Presidential Election Essay Research Paper The — страница 2

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the two candidates took on these issues, there is evidence that shows that many Americans were not convinced as to which candidate held a issue position closer to their own view. McGovern was clearly in favor of immediate withdraw from Vietnam. “I’m fed up with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in,” McGovern said in his print advertising. “The war in Indochina is the greatest military, political, economic, and moral blunder in our nation’s history…” However, one poll indicates that there were a large number of Americans who believed that Nixon was closer to their position of favoring withdraw from Vietnam. 22 percent of Americans surveyed saw Nixon as closer to their own position of favoring withdraw. Compared to 62 percent of those surveyed saw McGovern

as closer to their own position of favoring withdraw. On the other end of the spectrum there seems to be more clarity amongst Americans on who favored a military victory in Vietnam. 90 percent of those surveyed who favored a military victory saw Nixon as having a similar position, while only 6 percent who favored military victory saw McGovern as having a similar position. Benjamin Page claims that although McGovern was in disagreement with the public on a few dramatic issues, but looking at all the 1971-72 policy questions asked by Gallup, McGovern agreed with a plurality of the public 70 percent of the time. Although McGovern may have held the same issue positions as much of the American electorate, it may be argued that many Americans were not sure what position McGovern held

on all the issues. Kathleen Hall Jamieson argues that there is a reason for the public’s uninformed perception of McGovern’s issue positions is due in part by poor advertising strategy. Jamieson faults McGovern for relying on half hour televised specials to layout his specific proposals. She claims that unlike TV spots that entice the unsuspecting viewer, longer programming tends to attract the true believers. Jamieson also makes the argument that the electorate as a whole was not exposed to McGovern’s vision of the future or to the specific form that vision would take. Voters were more likely to see the specifics of McGovern’s proposals retracted from attack ads by the republicans than in the democrat’s spot advertising. It can possibly be concluded that although

McGovern may have held many of the same issue positions as many Americans, that his inability to inform the public about his issue positions may have been a factor in his loss of the election. The possibility that McGovern was unable to inform his potential supporters does not mean that Nixon was a victor based solely on the possible failures of McGovern. Nixon’s policy beliefs were shared with many Americans. In polling of four specific policy issues: Vietnam, Aid to Minority Groups, National Economic Maintenance, and Penalties for the Use of Marijuana, President Nixon was seen to share more of the same policy positions in all four categories amongst the people surveyed. In Vietnam policy, Nixon was seen to share the same policy opinion as 56 percent of those surveyed compared

to McGovern’s 31 percent. Dealing with aid to minority 45 percent of those surveyed saw Nixon as holding a similar position to theirs, compared to McGovern’s 26 percent. Nixon’s position on economic maintenance was similar to the positions of 53 percent of those surveyed while McGovern only related to 27 percent. The position Nixon took on penalties for use of marijuana were similar to that of 41 percent of those surveyed, while only 27 of the people surveyed identified McGovern’s position as close to their own. A similar survey done by the Gallup poll reported that 56 percent of Americans believed that Nixon could do a better job dealing with Vietnam than the 26 percent that thought that McGovern could do a better job. Also helping Nixon is the fact that he was the

incumbent, most people already knew what he stood for, and they did not have to rely as much on advertising to be informed on Nixon’s positions. This polling data may give the perception that the majority of Americans favored Nixon’s policy beliefs but, as mentioned previously, Gallup polls showed that McGovern agreed with the public 70 percent of the time. Although McGovern may have had the same political beliefs as a majority of Americans, Nixon was seen by the majority of American people to be closer to their opinions. Even though there is evidence that shows that McGovern held similar policy preferences to that of many Americans, the evidence shows the majority of people saw Nixon as holding policy preferences similar to theirs. This helps to show that it could quite