So perhaps it's no surprise that this month saw the release of what may be the first professional political poll of American dogs. In a telephone survey of 600 dog owners nationwide, D.C.-based pollster Michael D. Cohen found that, although the owners favored John McCain over Hillary Rodham Clinton by 38.5 percent to 31.3 percent in a hypothetical match-up, they averred (by a smaller margin) that their dogs would likely paw the lever for Clinton. Cohen says the questions--appended to an otherwise nonpolitical marketing survey for a soon-to-be-released pet product--were meant as a lark. If Nascar Dads and Soccer Moms could be invented and then pandered to by political consultants in previous election cycles, he reasoned, why not dog owners?
There are many public policy questions that relate to household pets such as leash laws and vaccination requirements. Pitched battles have erupted over outlawing so called aggressive breeds such as pit bulls. Scandals over inhumane treatment and charging for cremations of dogs that were thrown in the dumpster pop up in the news. The ethics of euthanizing unwanted animals is a constant debate. Pets are even a source of contention in divorce settlements.
It will take a bit more polling to figure out how best the political class could react to such modern pet-owning challenges. But strategists considering writing off this would-be voting bloc should consider this: In 2002, American Demographics reported that 83 percent of American pet owners call themselves their animal's "Mommy" or "Daddy," up from 55 percent in 1995. Now, anyone running for office want to side against Mom and Dad?
Note: It must be dog night on the web. Bernie spent the weekend at a dog park.