When reason.com ran its “Who’s Getting Your Vote?” survey in 2008, a significant number of the scientists, writers, entertainers, artists, and other notables in our universe said they were either casting a ballot for or favoring then-Sen. Barack Obama. By picking up support from 12 people out of 42, or 29 percent, of our participants, Obama performed decidedly better than incumbent President George W. Bush did in our 2004 survey (10 out of 46, or 22 percent).
Coming into office, Obama promised much. For better or worse, he has delivered much, from a mandate forcing every American to buy health insurance (which he had actually campaigned against) to the joint-service mission that killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden (which did in a way fulfill his campaign promise to get tougher on Pakistan). So do those 2008 Obama voters stand by their votes?
When we followed up in 2010, one Obama-leaner—reason cartoonist Peter Bagge—revealed that he’d ended up voting for Libertarian Party candidate Bob Barr. reason science columnist Ronald Bailey expressed regret at the way Obama’s efforts had “for the most part…harmed the country.” The rest stood by their 2008 decisions. Contributing Editor Julian Sanchez reiterated his grudging pro-Obama stance from 2008, declaring that he “just barely” stood by his previous position “on the grounds that John McCain could still die in the next two years.”
When we checked in again in September 2012, these Obama die-hards still refused to break down. “Obama has been a disappointment,” Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman told us. “McCain would have been a disaster.” Science fiction writer John Scalzi thought through the implications of the time machine he would need to revisit his four-year-old vote before concluding, “I would still be philosophically better aligned to Obama than the other candidates on most practical issues.” Another science fiction author, David Brin, noted that “there is absolutely no basis for libertarians to consider the Republican Party the lesser of two evils.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that Obama was a better choice than John McCain,” said former Reagan administration policy aide Bruce Bartlett. “McCain has not said or done anything since then that would lead me to believe that he would have done a better job the last 3.5 years.”
This writer is one of the Obama 12. That vote and my 1992 choice of Bill Clinton are my only winning votes. I stand by both, but this year I’ll be voting for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson.
Check out reason.com for the 2012 version of “Who’s Getting Your Vote” to see how folks are leaning this time around.