Both parties fouled up, straw poll says

February 29, 2016

Not that they’ll take it to heart, but results of a straw poll conducted at the Blue Jean Nation Revival held February 20 in Neenah provide a stark reality check for the political establishment and party faithful.

Upwards of 150 people from about 40 different communities attended the Revival. They came from every part of Wisconsin, some traveling more than three hours to get there.

Four out of five (83%) agreed that “both major parties are messed up” and 51% strongly agreed with the statement. Barely a third (34%) “feel a sense of belonging to one of the major political parties” and only 5% strongly agreed with that statement.

Thirty percent of the straw poll participants said they don’t believe the parties are fixable, and another 33% weren’t sure if they could be fixed. But at the same time, 60% of respondents agreed that “reforming an existing party is preferable to starting a new one” and 66% agreed that “overhauling a party from within is possible.”

A supermajority of poll participants (83%) agreed that “independent voices are squelched in the major parties,” with 47% strongly agreeing. Only 32% agreed “it is possible for independents to feel at home in a major party.” Of those attending the Revival, 58% agreed with the statement “I consider myself an independent.”

The desire for fundamental change runs very strong, with nearly all respondents (89%) disagreeing and 49% strongly disagreeing that “the way politics works today is sustainable.” Sixty-two percent disagreed that “professional political consultants play a useful and necessary role” while another 29% weren’t sure. Only 9% of respondents agreed that political consultants serve a useful and necessary purpose, with 1% strongly agreeing.

“What we found is what presidential candidates are running into all across the country. People are fed up with the party establishments and they’ve had it with the way the political system is working right now,” Blue Jean Nation founder and president Mike McCabe said. “Frustration is reaching the boiling point.”

In addition to the straw poll, there was a “wishing wall” where those attending the Revival could write their ideas and everyone was given the opportunity to speak. Some of the best comments were shared online, tweeted live on Blue Jean Nation’s Twitter account.