Campaigns Prioritize Energy, But Offer Few Policy Specifics

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Tuesday, September 07, 2010 at 10:09 am

The New York Times published this morning an analysis of the top campaign issues discussed on the websites of members of the House that are in close reelection races.

While health care emerged as the top issue on the sites, energy was mentioned as a key issue on 72 percent of both Democrats’ and Republicans’ sites. For Democrats, health care was mentioned on 79 percent of the lawmakers’ sites; energy tied jobs, education and gun rights for second place.

For Republicans, energy was also mentioned on 72 percent of sites, right behind health care and deficits spending. (Interestingly, gun rights was mentioned on 66 percent on Republican websites, 8 percent fewer than the Democrats’ sites.)

But Nate Silver, whose FiveThirtyEight.com was recently acquired by the Times, notes that Democrats are “having trouble articulating a clear set of policy goals,” particularly on energy, where some moderate House Democrats don’t want to draw undue attention to the cap-and-trade program they passed last year.

On energy, the Democrats do have a clearer policy proposal: their bill to introduce a cap-and-trade system, which passed the House last year but not the Senate. Many of the Democrats, however, spoke about “energy independence” in much vaguer terms (as did many Republicans). And a few – like Mike Oliverio, a conservative Democrat in West Virginia — noted their opposition to the cap-and-trade proposal.

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