Andrew McCullough's Blog

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Letter to Hinckley Institute of Politics

Hello -

I am an attorney in Midvale and Chair of the Libertarian Party in Utah.

This morning's Trib reports a poll on the governor's race, sponsored by your institute. It has 2 parts, including a poll on the November race for Governor. The questions asked in that poll apparently assume that there will be two candidates on the ballot for Governor only. Despite that question, the results show 4% for "other" in a race featuring Gov. Herbert, and 9% for "other" in a race featuring Jon Johnson. I am assuming that no effort was made to identify the name of the "other" candidate for voters who took that option. If I am wrong about that, I would really appreciate any information you might give me as to any extended results.

As I'm sure you are aware, Utah now has a "debate commission" and that commission will set up one televised debate between candidates for major office. Candidates will be invited to that debate depending on support shown for them in a poll. If the names of "other" candidates are not included in a poll, obviously the chance of another candidate showing much support in that poll is substantially diminished.

I realize that you have no duty to the "minor" parties of this State to include us in the polls; but by failing to do so, you are determining whether we will show support of not. Therefore, you might even say that you are "making the news, rather than simply reporting it". We express our hope that future polls can be worded so that an accurate determination can be made as to the level of support for our candidates. That way, we can see if we are being treated fairly by the media and the Debate Commission. Minor parties have a real role to play in an election campaign. While our candidates are not likely to be elected, we can and do bring new ideas to the debate, and we change minds and bring about change in public policy. the Libertarian Party, for instance, has supported "marriage equality" since 1971. We did not have to "evolve", but instead, we brought that issue before the people, and they did evolve to the point where public policy did change. We would hope that those who make the decisions as to which ideas are heard by the people will not shut us out of the important public forums.

I note also that polls have been published this week on the races for President, Governor and 4th District Congress. We are anxious to know whether there may yet be results coming for other congressional races and for the Attorney General's race (in which I am the Libertarian Party candidate). If you can tell me anything about any of that, I would also greatly appreciate it. Once again, it will be important to us to know if there was an adequate chance for someone to express preference for "other" candidates, and so help qualify us for debate participation.

Thank you for any consideration you can give.


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