Why has 1 in 10 Americans voted for an American Idol?

That is quite a mind boggling statistic. But first, I must disclaim / confess / admit that I am one of the 1 in 10. This season I only voted once, but last year well…I was watching it with a teenager present and I guess I got caught up.

The study by Pursuant, Inc also revealed that "Thirty-five percent of all respondents believe that their votes on American Idol count as much as or more so than voting in a U.S. Presidential election."

How can this be?? My guess is:

  • You get instant gratification of results.
  • While there may be some manipulation based on how the judges say they think the contestants did, there are no other claims to have to decipher or wonder if they are true.
  • It's based on opinion instead of having to think through facts. Did that person sing well, look good, and act like a star or not? (Come to think of it, isn't that the criteria that most often results in winning presidents?)
  • The only promises made relate to future entertainment, not fixing our lives and country. This is something that's fun to partake in without fear your vote will upset the balance of society.
  • Everyone votes in the same 2 hours. There isn't that confusing electoral process where some states seem to not matter.
  • You don't have to trek somewhere to vote.

Addendum, after trying to vote in an election:

I spent an hour on Sunday poring through a June election booklet, filling out an absentee ballot.

After marking off votes for a few people, I saw that the booklet had last been updated in March and I needed to go online to see other statements. Well, I didn't have my computer on hand. For each candidate I had to analyze:

  • If they were merely telling me what I wanted to hear or if they were talking about their experience.
  • Did I agree with the endorsements they touted?
  • Would someone with their experience and agenda benefit me personally?
  • How would it benefit society?
  • Did I believe them?
  • Would it be OK if they belonged to a party I didn't normally vote for or would they really have another agenda?
  • Was I voting for a candidate who had a certain degree of winning
  • And why in the world did only some candidates have statements? I had to turn to a "summary" page to see the full list of candidates. At that point I felt totally hosed in terms of being able to make informed decisions without being online.

I left the cafe, unable to mail the ballot, thinking I should go online to learn more. Now the ballot is sitting there on my "to do" pile.

And compare that to what it takes to vote for American Idol. There has got to be a better way. At least structure the blocks of information candidates need to provide into resume type format: My Objective, My Experience, My References etc.

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