As I’ve grown disaffected with Rudy Giuliani (I haven’t ruled out renewing my support for him, but that support is in suspense at the moment) I’m wondering who I should support. If it’s a case of wanting to back the winning horse, the best bet now would be Hillary Clinton, with Giuliani running a not-so-distant second, and everyone else far behind them. But it seems as though one’s support for a political candidate should not be based on whether they are likely to win or not; ideally, one would support the candidate closest to one’s own ideological views.
So what I’ve done is to construct a matrix of issues that are important to me, weighted how important they are, and now I will undertake to examine each of the candidate’s positions on those issues over the next several days. I will share my survey results with you, Loyal Readers, not just to publicly make a decision, but hopefully to help you all make decisions for yourselves. To that end, keep in mind that your opinions about the “right” position on various issues will likely vary from mine, and the relative weight that you assign to these issues will also likely vary from mine.
I am only going to examine the candidates who have more than 10% of their respective parties’ support in multiple national polls. Although I’ve yet to cast a vote for a Democrat for any partisan political office, I will nevertheless include them because 1) I can hardly claim to be an open-minded moderate if I didn’t, 2) some of you are Democrats and could profit from the analysis, and 3) it’s only fair. So that means my survey will include, for the Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards; and for the Republicans, Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson, Mitt Romney, John McCain, and Mike Huckabee.* That’s a total of eight candidates; I don’t know what order I’ll approach them in yet.
My weighting mechanism will be on a 100 point scale. A variety of issues are worth different amounts of points, as follows:
Abortion (1 point)
Amending the Constitution (6 points)
Anti-Terrorism Policy (7 points)
Balanced Budget (8 points)
Civil Liberties (9 points)
Education (5 points)
Environment (4 points)
Free Trade (5 points)
General Foreign Policy (6 points)
Health Care Reform (3 points)
Immigration Policy (5 points)
Iraq (6 points)
Korea (5 points)
Middle East Peace Process (4 points)
Science and Technology (4 points)
Separation of Church and State (5 points)
Social Security Reform (5 points)
Taxes (5 points)
Tort Reform (3 points)
Torture of U.S. Prisoners (4 points)
Where possible, I will try to include either actual quotes or accurate restatements of their policy platforms on these issues, with hyperlinks. Sources for this information will include published speeches, campaign websites, and assessments of the candidates published by appropriate special interest groups. From there, the numerical award in each category will be something of an approximation of how close each candidate comes to my view on each issue.
* For my opinion on Ron Paul (who is polling between 3-6% nationally), see this morning’s post, infra.