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Mind Your Business: How Will Artists Vote?

In this month's column, Mark Simon reveals the results of his own survey, arguing his case for the Obama/Biden ticket.

Barack Obama: Cool under Fire. All images © 2008 Mark Simon.

The opinions expressed are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of AWN, Inc. and its affiliates. AWN was not involved in Mr. Simon's survey, its construction or how and with whom it was conducted.

This election season is scarier than Halloween. In eight years we've gone from having an economic surplus and being the envy of the world, to being trillions in debt, in a war under false pretenses and being hated, or at least pitied, by most of the world.

I've been following the polls, reading the news, reading blogs and talking to everyone I can about the election and who they plan to vote for. I've been seeing a steady move among people towards voting for Barack Obama, but it's been a lot closer than I can believe.

What I was curious about was how artists plan to vote. Do we think alike? Are artists capable of reading through the bullshit and really knowing what's going on? That's why I posted a survey for artists.

Over 270 people took the survey. That's about the same number most pundits use in their political polls, so it is probably a good representation of artists.

Fair warning: This is a biased editorial. I am voting for Barack Obama and I feel John McCain and Sarah Palin will continue to destroy this country in the same way that the Bush administration has done. Karl Rove, the evil genius behind Bush's campaign, took dirty politics to a new level and VP Dick Cheney should be imprisoned for an immense number of illegal activities. (He won't be charged though. Cheney is insanely scary if he can shoot someone in the face and it's his victim who apologizes.)

I'm proud to say my fellow artists have not let me, or this country, down. The good news is that artists favor Obama (54%) over McCain (31%) by 23 points. Twelve percent still say they are undecided. A couple of people still plan to vote for Bob Barr or Ralph Nader, but they're statistically irrelevant.

The current polls (as of October 6) show Obama with a six-point lead nationally. I actually feel it's higher than that and closer to the numbers we see here. A politically involved friend of mine, Wayne Carter, had a good point about the national polls. Those polls are taken with people who have landline telephones. A huge percentage of voters, who are tending towards Obama in huge numbers, only have cell phones. That means a large voting segment is not being counted and Obama's numbers could be much higher.

What are you undecideds waiting for? Are you so scared of a Democratic president, or a black president, or heaven forbid a Democratic black president that you are contemplating a ticket that follows the disastrous path of the Bush administration?

The balance of those surveyed seems to accurately reflect the animation industry. It was split 60/40 male to female, about how the industry split. Income levels are equally split above and below $60K per year.

Ninety percent of those surveyed had registered to vote. I hope the other 10% registered by the deadline. We all need to vote.

One telling sign of the times is that only 40% of those surveyed are registered Democrats, but 54% said they are voting for Obama. That means a lot of Independents (30%) and Republicans (26%) are voting for Obama. Add to that that 38% are not voting for their party, and it shows you how disgusted artists are with the way Republicans have run the government.

Stepping away from the survey for a moment, let's take a look at what a Republican is. I say this because I have neighbors who say they are financially conservative and are for smaller government. The Republican Party has not been financially conservative or for a smaller government for well over 12 years. The Bush administration has spent more money and built a bigger government than any other time in our country's history. The Clinton administration was financially conservative. Old labels do not apply.

Regarding experience, 55% of us artists think Obama has the necessary experience to be president, 78% think McCain has the experience to be president, and 86% think Biden has the experience to be vice-president. However, only 37% think Palin has the experience to be vice-president. If this survey had been held after the Palin-Couric interview I bet that number would have been a lot lower.

Not surprisingly, the economy is the most important issue (99% somewhat and very important) on people's minds. Next came alternative energy (91%), the war in Iraq (89%), loss of civil rights (85%), foreign policy knowledge (83%) and freedom of choice (82%).

Most of you get your news from the Internet and CNN. It's scary that 41% of you watch Fox news. "Fair and balanced" is the epitome of hypocrisy. It's no secret that Rupert Murdoch sends Republican talking points to the "news" division every day.

John McCain: Fuming at his drop in the polls.

Thirty-six percent get their news from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report. What's really funny about this is viewers get more accurate news from these comedies than they do from Fox News. In April of 2007, a Pew Research Study (thinkprogress.org/2007/04/16/daily-show-fox-knowledge/) showed that the audiences of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have the highest knowledge of national and international affairs when compared to other news shows, magazines and newspapers. Fox News ranked nearly dead last.

Luckily, most of you rated Fox News as the most untrustworthy. Blogs, church and MSNBC also rated very low in your trust.

You said that you feel the Obama/Biden ticket is honest, understands the middle class, will help the country and can lead the country. Most of you feel Biden could step in as president. Less than six percent of you think Obama is Muslim (you six percent scare me with your ignorance) and four percent think he was born outside of the U.S. (Last time I checked, Hawaii was part of the U.S.)

And of course we're concerned about our rights as artists. Almost three-quarters of you think Obama/Biden are more likely to pass legislation to support your rights. Hopefully you're right. However, our protection is not guaranteed along party lines. The architects of the devastating Orphan Works Act are Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy and Republican Senator Orin Hatch. They were even sneaky enough to try and pass the bill late in the session, while congress and the American public were busy with the $700 billion bail out.

I talked to the offices of all the congressmen who are on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property last week when the Senate tried to sneak this terrible bill through again. Due to the efforts of the thousands of artists and the Illustrators' Partnership (www.IllustratorsPartnership.org for more Orphan Works info), I was told that they were receiving a tremendous number of calls, e-mails and faxes against the Bill. So far we've beaten the bill, but they will keep trying and we need to stay vigilant.

As you know, most of my articles are funny. But it's hard to be funny about this election when the results are so serious. Make sure you vote. We can't let this be a close election.

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