An enlightening experience

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By Jay Miller

SANTA FE — Having trouble figuring which presidential candidate to vote for? Pollsters tell us more people than ever are expected to stay away from the voting booth this November. In many cases these are people who usually vote but are so turned off by the parties and their candidates that they don’t know what to do.
One solution is a new website, created in March, called “I Side With.” The site asks a series of questions on the major issues of the campaign. You can answer yes or no or even qualify your answer.
The site will then compare your answers with the stands of presidential candidates.
They have tossed in a half-dozen minor party candidates too.
You are then presented with information on which candidate you most side with on the issues. You also learn where you stand with the major party candidates and the minor party candidates with whom you most agree.
You also find out how you side with all New Mexicans and all Americans who took the poll. And you learn how you fit in with various party platforms.
The results also are cross- tabbed so that you can compare yourself with the candidates on each of eight different issues. The poll also is connected with Facebook and Twitter so you can see how you compare with your friends there.
 I never have found a need for friends in social media. I have enough of my own. Surprisingly for Santa Fe, most of my friends are conservative Republicans who think I am too liberal.
Amazingly, they are very nice people anyway.
 It was refreshing to take the survey and concentrate solely on issues. Television gives us only negative ads and news about the fight of the day. Word evidently is getting around. Some 320,000 have taken the survey.
The site was created by two young men, one of whom must be a computer genius. I don’t know whether to call them enterprising. They ask for voluntary donations to keep things going. If 10 percent of the respondents send them $10 for their efforts, $320,000 in four months would qualify as enterprising.
 Personally, I couldn’t have wished for better results. It said I side with New Mexicans, who took the survey before me, 95 percent of the time. But it is a bit surprising how often that other five percent contacts me about the columns I write.
 When friends ask me which presidential candidate is going to get my vote, I have been saying for the last month or so that I’m going to vote for Gary Johnson.
They laugh.
 The survey result says they shouldn’t laugh. I side with Johnson on the issues 88 percent of the time. That is more than any other candidate.
  When I created a website about 10 years ago, I described myself as being a Gary Johnson Democrat. I guess this confirms it. Gary, you have my vote. Yes, I know, he always has been a little crazy.
If you would like to take this survey, go to www.istandwith.com or just Google “Stand With.” It is completely non-partisan. The two guys who run it say they are not affiliated with any investors, shareholders, advertisers, political party or interest group.
 The owners say they hope to increase turnout for the presidential election by getting people excited about the candidate who stands closest to them on the issues.
The survey also educates voters by getting them to stop and think about where they really stand on issues. It also tells you where you stand on each candidate in regard to each issue.
 The experience is enlightening. But if you have no intention of voting for anyone than your favorite major party candidate, you likely will be wasting your time. A vote, of course, for anyone other than Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is wasted in terms of the balance of power in Washington.
Jay Miller is a syndicated columnist based in Santa Fe.