The American Indian Vote: Don’t Count It Out

| 10/29/2010 1:45:34 PM


Poll-based predictions are flying as Election Day approaches, Mark Trahant writes at the rural-news blog the Daily Yonder:

But here is one prediction you won’t read in the press: Not a single poll will capture what’s going on with Indian Country voters during this election cycle. The science of polling doesn’t work very well with small population groups living in rural or isolated locations.

That’s too bad because it would be interesting and useful to know what’s in the mind of American Indian and Alaska Native voters this cycle. 

Trahant zeroes in on two places where the Indian and Native vote is newsworthy.

In Alaska’s Senate race, he writes, “The only way that Lisa Murkowski returns to that office is if Alaska Native voters turn out in large numbers and write her name on the ballot.”

And in South Dakota, Democratic-sponsored reservation voter rallies that feature food have attracted suggestions from some Republicans that they are a food-for-votes scheme. Write Trahant:

I can’t tell you how much food I’ve eaten at voter events over the years—sponsored by both parties. This is a silly issue. 

But I know the real fear: It’s fry bread power. A piece of bread in the hands of a voter could make a real difference.

Native blogger Ajijaakwe goes into much greater detail about the South Dakota food-and-voting controversy at Daily Kos.

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