Saturday, July 26, 2008

Guam: Oh Well, So Much for Frontloading the General Election

There's actually quite a bit of Guam news this morning. Well, any bit of news from Guam is usually quite a bit of news. But I'm one to talk: I've featured the island in at least three posts this election cycle. Anyway, Ballot Access News is reporting that the acting Guamanian governor (Lt. Gov. Michael W. Cruz) vetoed the bill that would have moved the island's straw vote for president from November to coincide with its primary election in September.

Here's the news from the web page of Guam's governor:
Acting Governor Michael W. Cruz vetoed Bill No. 287 yesterday which would have moved Guam's "straw poll" vote for President and Vice-President of the United States from the general election to the primary election.

"It seems conducting the "straw poll" hours before the rest of the United States begins voting would garner more attention than conducting a "straw poll" during the primary election," Acting Governor Cruz said. "If Guam is going to conduct a "straw poll" we should vote the same as all other American citizens which is during the general election."

Although residents of Guam do not officially vote for these positions, Guam has been conducting what is called a "straw poll" casting of ballots for the President and Vice-President hours before the rest of the United States begins voting.
That's interesting not only because of the veto news, but because it answers one of the questions that emerged from the post concerning bill #287 in the first place. Namely, when does Guam actually vote? On election day, which would be prior to the mainland US or after the rest of the US votes. Guamanians seem to take pride in being the first to vote. Hmmm, Guam as a bellwether. Interesting.

It is funny that this news should come out now because the answer to this question was actually independently verified by a Guam (or former Guam) resident who stumbled on that post. Here are his or her comments which actually contain some useful information about the island's ideological and demographic make up:
Hey there! I saw this blog through a google search and I was deeply intrigued. To answer the questions posted on the comments, yes.. Guam does vote a straw poll during election day..... but... as Guam is a day ahead of the mainland US (hence the term, "Where America's Day Begins," we actually do this voting almost a whole day before the US Mainland does their General Election. I myself am privy to this fact as I, being a Liberal Democrat, was part of the 33% Guamanian minority who voted for Kerry in 2004. As I am currently on Hawaii, I plan on making this vote "count" for Obama (As if that matters in this solidly blue state... har har). This year we may see a break of this pattern though (i.e. the Guam straw poll being predictive of the US General Election results). Guam is a peculiar territory.... deeply rooted in Catholic beliefs. If anything, I would brand the electorate there EXTREMELY socially conservative (even the Democrats there are Pro-Life), yet EXTREMELY economically liberal (even the Republicans there support HUGE governement spending on social programs and hiring their close family friends to run them). Obama himself won the island by 7 votes..... and counting the super-delegates in the island, Hillary pulled ahead (you see, Hillary was a symbol to Guam voters as a "What can you do for ME" kinda politician). Obama, does not seem to play to this pandering as much as Hillary.... this may in turn hurt him in the Guam straw poll, but may very well help him in the US Mainland GE. Here's to a hope of broken PATTERNS!!!
And so ends today's lesson on Guam. Any questions?

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Jack said...

Great to have an answer to our question!

Throughout this year I've learned more about Guam politics than I ever could have imagined. During the Guam Democratic primary, due to the lack of coverage by the major networks and my need to have up to the minute election returns, I was following the results on DemConWatch, refreshing every two or three seconds, and there were a few posters there from Guam who enlightened us on just about everything we needed to know.

MSS said...

This is really interesting.

I am not sure, however, how much attention Guam gets by voting just as America's election day starts. This is the first I have ever heard of it!

Just one quibble with the excellent commentator: Being in favor of big (and externally funded) public works programs on which your friends and family are hired does not fit any definition of "extremely liberal" that I know.

Anonymous said...

Ack, nice to see my comment made it into another posting. Glad I was informative. To MSS, my apologies. You're absolutely right. Although certain social programs can be considered liberal, having your friends/family run them is basic cronyism (which really is independent of ideology).