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Pollster's view on election '08

"You need to know how serious this number is," Zogby said.

He continued by mentioning President George W. Bush's approval rating, which has reached a record low of 21 percent.

"O.J. had a 16-percent approval rating," Zogby said of O.J. Simpson's 1995 public support.

According to Zogby, the return of the center, the moderate, allows a person to compare 2004 to 2008. In 2004, there were two warring hyper-partisan political cultures, Zogby said.

"The middle was directing this election," Zogby said of this year's results.

According to Zogby, the public wanted two things during election 2008: A problem-solver and a consensus-builder. He said both parties put their best person forward to target moderates.

Zogby argued that at the same time the center was reborn, there was disconnect.

"Congress is dysfunctional," Zogby said. "The skills required to get a congressman or -woman elected are different than the skills required to run Congress."

Party loyalty, he said, leads back to hyper-partisanship.

"No one runs for re-election by saying, 'I sat down with the opposition and got them to see things my way,'" Zogby said.

Hurricane Katrina also took a toll on American thinking, Zogby said.

"Katrina was more significant in American history than [the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks]," Zogby said. "Sept. 11 bonded American people and their leaders. At the start of the war, support was close to 50/50, but as the 'shock and awe' hit, support dropped. With the Bush administration's handling of Katrina in 2005, government approval ratings started to freefall, as people realized that 'it doesn't work.'"

Zogby said he believes that the transformational election was so much about change that Bush/Clinton just didn't cut it.

"It was not going to be about ideological change, but about problem-solving and consensus-building," Zogby said.

He said the 18- to 29-year-olds made up a total 19 percent of the vote out of 133 million people. This new generation of voters has high expectations, Zogby warned, that to dash such expectations would be to risk losing a generation of American politics.

The next event will be held on Feb. 27 at the Catherine Cummings Theatre. For more information, visit cazenoviaforum.com.

Brandi Moyer is editor-in-chief of "The Quad," the student-run newspaper of Cazenovia College.

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