Commentary Logo
Japan Island disputes in SE Asia    World War III Alarm Anti-Islam video and anti-US sentiment    Skull Say no to brainwashing

       peace and anti-war Israel Iran strike imminent    sanctions as a result of nuclear tests Sanctions on Iran and workarounds    black lightning bolt India's massive blackout

Snapshots of news
Gearheads and mastheads
Home  •  About this site  •  How did we once fight corruption in colonial Hong Kong?
 •  Historical US administrative thoughts  •  USA versus colonial Hong Kong
 •  Anti-corruption review of Nigeria  •  Procurement monitoring in Nigeria
 •  Syndicated news  •  Usman's blog  •  Anti-graft news  •  Socialist news

 Sunday, September 22 2019 5:55am Hongkong Time

Obama vs. Romney: Whom to vote for – from a 'no-regret' perspective

Raymond Cheng

Deciding on whom to vote for can be a real headache but definitely not as disappointing as when you have to regret for choosing the wrong guy over the next four years. While there are dozens of online quizzes and calculators [1] [2] that will help people easily make their selections, few seems to view the issue from the angle in retrospect. Think of it this way: People are keep telling you (and the media ads are bombarding you too) as to whom you should vote for but no matter what and how compelling the reason(s) they may give, they seem to care less about what is really going to happen after the election. So come on, be realistic: Do you really think Mitt Romney can make some real changes on day one? I honestly don't believe so. For me, I would like to know what people have really said several years *after* they casted their votes in previous elections. There is just always too much information *before* every election and too few when people eventually find themselves unhappy with their previous decisions. So do people often regret picking the wrong guy? If so, what kind of people regretted and for what and why would they regret? Let's find out.

Some theories first

Brigham Young University Professor Mark Davies maintains a database of contemporary American English (and linguists have a technical name for it called corpus). With over 450 million words, the database is a searchable text collection of newspapers, academic journals, popular magazines, transcripts of unscripted conversation from TV programs and radio shows, etc. all gathered between 1990-2012. By searching through the database and looking at the matched results (in the form of short excerpts), one can have an idea what the media or people have said over the years about certain things. For simplicity reasons I shall skip the rest of the linguistic theories here so if you are interested in the boring theories, please read my other article on "John Sinclair's lexical items – an introduction" or my examples on how to analyze the search findings using the example words: "cause", "reduce", and "credibility".

Let's see some findings

Having searched through Brigham Young's database, I managed to locate all 243 instances of "voted for" (that is, "voted for Clinton", "voted for Bush" and "voted for Obama") that appeared in various newspapers and magazines from after the last five U.S. presidential elections (listed in Table 1) which spanned the last 20 years since 1992.

Order Election Year Winner Other major candidates
52nd 1992 Bill Clinton* (Democrat) - 370 electoral votes George H. W. Bush (Republican) - 168
Ross Perot (no party) - 0
53rd 1996 Bill Clinton* (Democrat) - 379 Bob Dole (Republican) - 159
Ross Perot (Reform) - 0
54th 2000 George W. Bush^ (Republican) - 271 Al Gore (Democrat) - 266
Ralph Nader (Green) - 0
55th 2004 George W. Bush (Republican) - 286 John Kerry (Democrat) - 251
56th 2008 Barack Obama (Democrat) - 365 John McCain (Republican) - 173

Table 1: List of United States presidential elections 1992-2008. Note: * means winner received less than an absolute majority of the popular vote;   ^ means losing candidate received a plurality of the popular vote.

So here are the findings.

While I am neither conducting a country-wide exit poll nor a full-scale post-election research, what I can tell from the 243 excerpts found (all in quotes below) is that Republicans seemed to be more willing to vote for a Democrat candidate without later regretting, especially when they believe that the American people "were mired in a terrible recession" and "the country needed something". Many registered Republicans, who "voted for Clinton and Gore", "voted for Clinton twice". There were even rumors that "President Reagan voted for Clinton". But no matter whom Republicans have voted for, Republicans are still Republicans, just as one who said "he voted for Obama (in 2008), but remains a Republican".

However, this is not quite the same for the Democrats. They seemed to regret more often when they choose to vote for a Republican presidential candidate. One Democrat "who voted for Bush four years ago... (said) (h)e doesn't plan to do so again", and there were some "blue collar Democrats who voted for Bush and (said they) don't want to again".

So what about Democrats for Democrats or Republicans for Republicans? While the excerpts do not reveal much on this, they do provide some hints as in the following two examples: A "Republican who voted for Bush in 1988 ... said he reluctantly would do so again", and, for the "Democrat who voted for Obama in 2008 ... (said he/she) would again".

Similarly, people who voted for a Republican seem to regret more often over their choices too. One (not knowing his political affiliation, presumably a member of the general public) "who voted for Bush ... thinks despair is now at an all-time high" and a medical doctor who also "voted for Bush ... (says) he's unhappy with high taxes and the economy". Interestingly, there is also this "worried Jarvis, who voted for Bush but sympathizes with Gore's position", too. And while some "Americans voted for Bush because he made them feel safe", others said "Americans deserved to be bombed because they had voted for Bush", and that because "you voted for Bush, so you're responsible for this disaster", or "they voted for Bush, (and so) support(ed) the Iraq war".

But is there a reason for this?

People seem to understand that when they vote for a Republican they vote for the American dream and a united America with strong military power whereas when they vote for a Democrat they vote for the charismatic leader as well as a plan, a plan either to help the people or save the country. For instance, one lady who "won't say whether she voted for Obama ... (says) she feels his health plan may be the answer". And another man who "voted for Obama ... said he still believes in this president (as a leader)". There are some others who also said that they either "voted for Obama's big government health care" or "Obama's Wall Street bailout". Such intention to vote for a Democrat candidate's economy plan in the presidential election does not seem to exist with the Republican candidate. Do they not have plans? I remember they did talked about some, e.g. Bush's No Child Left Behind Act, but why aren't those reflected in the excerpts we found from the newspapers and magazines? Could this be the reason why people regretted after they voted for a Republican because they had voted for someone without a plan that would last long enough to be remembered in history?

Excerpts of these newspapers and magazines all seem to point into a same direction: People are more likely to regret over their decisions of choosing a Republican candidate than a Democrat and that whenever a Republican chooses a Democrat, something terribly wrong must have happened in America and they wanted the Democrats to fix it (and that probably explains why President Obama always says he's got a lot of work to do). Whereas whenever a Democrat chooses a Republican, America must have remained relatively stable and prosperous for a period long enough, so long for some politicians to start thinking of going out and kick some ass, like starting a war in Iraq, looking for non-existent WMDs, or sending the American troops to some third-world country, etc. – which, according to these excerpts, they will always either regret four years down the road or simply call in the jackass again to clean up the mess – no wonder now why the Democrats changed their official party logo.

And that's quite obvious, isn't it? America is still halfway through the healing process from the wounds of the 2008 financial tsunami and it obviously takes more than 4 years to complete. If politicians really want to go out and kick some ass, please mark on their diaries (or whatever iPhone or Android smart phones they use) the page of 2016 – it is just not today.

November 4, 2012


Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA FRSA, is the founder and chief editor of He is an adjunct professor in international business and in marketing, an independent policy analyst as well as a language and cultural briefing consultant.

Email Raymond at raymond {dot} cheng {at} kellogg {dot} oxon {dot} org

Note 1: Some online quizzes and calculators for selecting your presidential candidate: Telegraph Daily's Votematch Quiz, Project Vote Smart's VoteEasy™, 2012 Presidential Candidate Selector or VoteHelp Candidate Calculator

Note 2: Other than President Obama (Democrat) and Mitt Romney (Republican), there are other presidential candidates in the 2012 U.S. election, namely, Rocky Anderson (Justice), Virgil Goode (Constitution), Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Jill Stein (Green), etc.

Commentary and reflection pages by Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA FRSA

  Main • Commentary   Special Foci • Syndicated News | Corruption | Socialism | GuanXi

  Health Related • Traditional Chinese Medicine   Others • OXLL

© 1997-2018 The Commentary by Office of Dr Raymond Cheng. All rights reserved. Copyright of selected news articles, the headlines and logos belongs to the respective entities. Read disclaimer

Digital platform powered by Wyith Limited, Wyith Institute. Wyith Limited and Wyith Institute are associated businesses operated by the Office of Dr Raymond Cheng • Dr Raymond Cheng & Partners Ltd and The Commentary Ltd.

Home  •  About this site  •  How did we once fight corruption in colonial Hong Kong?
 •  Historical US administrative thoughts  •  USA versus colonial Hong Kong
 •  Anti-corruption review of Nigeria  •  Procurement monitoring in Nigeria
 •  Syndicated news  •  Usman's blog  •  Anti-graft news  •  Socialist news

Contact the editor at raymond {dot} cheng {at} kellogg {dot} oxon {dot} org

The RendezvousBuildersCommentatorsContributorsReadersResearchers
Reflection Pages • Miscellaneous Stuff
The difference between instant evaluation and improving recognition – November 20
Freddy Krueger revisited: Politically correct education? – October 23
From the evaluator's perspective: Justified conclusions and decisions – October 8
Online and distance learning degrees – evaluator's perspective – September 25
The moment fake degrees turned recognized and appraised – September 9

Photo credits for top title bar, from left to right: Iza H (Work), Lukasz Gumowski (Blue balls), Marcin Bania (Smiling and naked), Lautaro Gonda (Milan station), Jan Abt (Girl taking a picture), Daniel Tang (Hot switch), Barbara Henry (Moriah reading), Ralf Herrmann (Checkmate II), Marko Roeper (Led #4), Ian Russell (Girl in downtown LA).
Note: Animated GIF graphics and clipart obtained from,,, and Sketches, cartoons and other handdrawings courtesy of Alice-the-Artist.

Special Alert! This is *NOT* the American Jewish Committee's Commentary Magazine! Special notice! This is not the American Jewish Committee's Commentary Magazine nor are we in any way affiliated with them. To visit AJC's magazine, please go to instead, thank you for your attention.
Memo with pin Technical memos for members
Receiving using Gmail | Sending using Gmail
0x800ccc0e | 0x800ccc19 | 0x800ccc79

This site is best viewed with Microsoft® Internet Explorer 6.0 or above, minimum 1024x768 16M color-depth resolution. The Commentary Group and its personnel do not endorse external sites and are not responsible for the content of these websites. All external sites will open in a new browser window.

COUNT ON THE STATISTICS  100% Towels (c) Daniel Chittka
Photo © Daniel Chittka

This new section contains some interesting statistics in bribe and corruption, please check back for more as we pile up our numbers!

It's statistics time!  Using n-gram: kickback, graft, bribe and corruption - Comparison of their historical occurrences from 1810 to 2009 A.D.

  The word guanxi (collocation) and meanings of bribe: Deeply rooted, disgusting, sad endings

Looking for a good book (c) Doug Logan
Photo © Doug Logan
tagged by area of interestBY AREA OF INTEREST
Pragmatics: Politeness trends from the historical perspective of global trade
Computer mediated communications: Social network – Came riding the waves of amazing coincidences
Language acquisition:
A critique on "A corpus driven study of the potential for vocabulary learning through watching movies"

Grammatical analysis: "When a linguist stumbled upon a Buttonwood"
Lexicon and the corpus: "John Sinclair's lexical items – an introduction"
tagged by regionBY REGION • Anything AsiaUS Presence in Asia
ChinaTaiwanHong Kong and MacauJapanKoreaSingaporeMalaysiaPhilippinesPakistanIndiaAfghanistanVietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and MyanmarTimor-Leste and IndonesiaMongoliaNew Zealand and Australia
tagged by topicsBY TOPIC • BiofuelRhino and elephant poachingAmerican movies hit China marketChina Internet censorshipChina's outward FDI opportunitiesGlobal rice yield
Island disputes in Southeast Asia | Senkakus-Diaoyu and historical findings | Dokdo-Takeshima | Spratly, Paracel, Scarborough | Kurils

For those you who don't have time to read all our news excerpts about the Asian island disputes (links above), you may find the following video, "The economic impact of a war between Japan and China", very enlightening.

© Minute MBA: More from

Free Pussy Riot!
Free Pussy Riot!

Photo © Igor Mukhin, retrieved from Wikipedia

"This trial is another example of the Kremlin's attempts to discourage and delegitimize dissent. It is likely to backfire." John Dalhuisen, Director of Amnesty International's Europe and Central Asia Programme

 More from Amnesty InternationalFree Pussy Riot

How it started – Pussy Riot Prayers, February 2012

08/17 Pussy Riot imprisoned on hooliganism charges
08/17 The only professionals in sight
08/19 Pussy Riot protesters arrested in Marseille
08/20 NZ PM – Sentence 'disproportionate'
08/20 Pussy Riot fear their kids being put in care
08/22 German supporters face criminal charges
08/22 Pussy Riot – it's carefully calibrated
08/23 Russian church-state corruption unveiled
08/23 Putin's secret weapon: The Orthodox faithful
08/24 Putin-nominated watchdog slams convictions
08/31 'Pussy Riot ritual killing', man detained
09/03 Orthodox deacon speaks over verdict
09/06 Putin denies part in 'Pussy Riot case'
09/10 Pussy Riot benefit concert draws 1,000
09/10 Gorbachev says verdict "disproportionate"
09/19 Punk group to transfer to remote penal colony
09/21 Aung San calls on Moscow to release RP
10/01 Sentence appeal delayed until Oct 10
10/10 Katya freed, 2 years for Nadya and Masha
10/16 Masha and Nadya sent to remote labor prison

BBC • Pussy Riot women begin life in prison

11/16 Merkel challanges Putin on imprisonment
11/22 Maria Alekhina transferred to solitary cell
11/28 Tolokonnikova's appeal case goes to court
12/24 Extremist videos appeal adjourned

01/15 Masha's sentence deferment denied
02/01 PR civil claim granted right to appeal
02/07 Pussy Riot files complaint with ECHR
03/06 Ombudsman asks court to overturn verdict
03/08 Protesters detained in Moscow
04/13 PR gets reprimand: parole problematic
04/21 PR defense seeks abolition of conviction
07/26 Parole denied, PR remains defiant

The Knife supporting PR at Pukkelpop

08/17 Against verdict on PR – Day of Solidarity
08/23 PR seeks mitigation of remaining sentence
GLUCK ON SOCIALISM AND CHINA Asia (c) Robert Churchill
Photo © Robert Churchill

Professor Sidney Gluck (c) Sandi BachomI am honored to have obtained Professor Sidney Gluck's (right) permission to allow me to repost here some of his work and interview related to China and socialism. Professor Gluck is professor emertius at the New School University in New York. A classical Marxist, Gluck has been studying China for 60 years in history and modern development. He has lectured all over the U.S. and still welcomes engagement at the age of 94 – photo © Sandi Bachom


Usman Khurshid on Mike McCune's HD Monitor with Paths logo with Maartje van Caspel's Public Space
I am proud to announce that the website is now carrying the technology updates from Usman Khurshid's Usman is a network consultant and works in a mixed environment of Windows and Linux platforms. He likes to study about the latest advancements in computer technology and shares his views on his blog.

Click here to read Usman's tech blog
Subscribe to RSS feed
Photo © Usman Khurshid, Mike McCune, Maartje van Caspel
COMING 2019 – COMPUTING CORPUS Active Network Hub (c) Phil Sigin-Lavdanski
Photo © Phil Sigin-Lavdanski

Oh, please do not get me wrong. This new section is not about computers, electronics or any engineering stuff, but rather I am currently constructing a new corpus based on Spectrum, the monthly publication from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers USA, from July 2007 to date. Having been a member for over 20 years since 1992, I am always fascinated by some of the terms scientists use when they talk about or envision their new inventions or methodologies. How many of them eventually come into practice? Could there be some insights we could possibly derive, from the linguistics perspective?


This website is published and designed by Raymond Cheng, PhD DPA and reflects only his personal views and opinions in his individual capacity. It does not represent the views and opinions of his firm, employer(s), students, etc., and is not in any way sponsored or endorsed by any other thrid parties. Click here to read my full disclaimer

Share on Twitter  Add to Facebook  Share on LinkedIn  +1 on Google