Across the country today, a record number of Americans are expected to cast ballots to elect the next president of the United States, ending what has been called “one of the most extraordinary presidential elections in this nation’s 232-year history.” As the nation waits to see who will succeed President Bush, Americans are yearning for a dramatic change in direction. A recent New York Times/CBS News poll found that “a record 89 percent of Americans now say the country has pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track.” In a Gallup poll out today, 92 percent of of registered voters agreed with the statement that “the stakes in this presidential election are higher than in previous years.” Though they offer two very different visions of where America should go in the next four years, both of the major presidential candidates, Sens. Barack Obama (D-IL) and John McCain (R-AZ), argue that they represent the change that America needs. “Change is coming,” declares McCain, while Obama talks about “the change we need.” As is to be expected, Americans disagree on the exact nature of the change they believe would most benefit the country, but overwhelmingly they are looking for a dramatic departure from President Bush’s America. In December 2007, Democratic pollster Peter Hart and Republican pollster Bill McInturff surveyed whether Americans were looking for “small adjustments,” “to turn the page,” or to start “a brand new book.” Respondents preferred “a brand new book” by a margin of 17 percentage points over “turn the page,” and 22 percentage points over “small adjustments.” Now, that book will begin to be written.
From The Progress Report