Running for public office can be scary.
You have to speak in public, answer hard questions (where you may look stupid with a weak response), you often have to raise money and ask your friends for it, and you could lose – and feel bad about that.
Hey. Even if you win you’re in the spotlight, aren’t paid much, or at all, and have your decisions second-guessed.
Who needs it?
Well, 76 percent of Idahoans say they don’t.
In a new Idaho Politics Weekly poll by Dan Jones & Associates, just over three-fourths of Idaho adults say they have not thought about running for public office and wouldn’t do it even if they did think about it.
Nineteen percent said they have not thought about running for office but would consider it if the opportunity arose.
Three percent said they have run for office before, and would consider doing so again.
Two percent said they’ve run for office before, and will never do it again.
Of course, we’d all probably agree that we need good people to run for office, and good people to win and serve us in public office – whether it is the local school board or governor, legislator, or U.S. senator.
But finding those good candidates/officeholders and encouraging them to run is a different matter.
Politics is considered by many a man’s game – with the rough and tumble campaigning and politicking coming with it.
And that’s too bad.
Some states have civic/political organizations that today are trying to get women more involved in government, whether in the volunteer, appointed or elected processes.
Jones finds there is a lot of work to do in the gender gap.
Only 1 percent of women in Jones’ new poll say they have run for office before and would do it again.
One percent say they’ve run, but would never do it again.
Fifteen percent said they have not run before, but would consider it if the right opportunity arose.
But 83 percent of Idaho women said they have not thought about running for office and wouldn’t do it even if they did think about it.
That’s a pretty big “no thanks, no way” number.
Among men, Jones found: 4 percent have run for office and would consider doing it again; 4 percent have run for office but would never do it again; 24 percent would consider running for office, but haven’t yet done so, and 68 percent have never thought about running and wouldn’t do it.
Younger Idaho adults, like their counterparts across the nation, are not really tuned into politics and office-seeking.
Jones finds that 7 percent of those 18-29 have run for some office before – that likely includes some office in their school’s student body.
A fourth said they would consider running for some office in the future, 67 percent said they haven’t thought about running for an office and wouldn’t do it if they did.
Republicans, Democrats and political independents fall out about the same in answering Jones’ question: 76 percent of Republicans said they would never run, 76 percent of Democrats said the same, as did 77 percent of political independents.
Jones polled 595 adults from Oct. 28 to Nov. 4, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4.02 percent.