McCain is the cat’s meow, pet owners say

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Stop the presses. Some startling poll findings emerged this week: Pet owners favor John McCain over Barack Obama.

Gasp! Could it be true?

Indeed. Animal proprietors prefer McCain to Obama 42% to 37%, according to an Associated Press-Yahoo! News survey of 1,759 adults conducted last month. Breaking it down, dog owners like the Republican over the Democrat 43% to 34%, and cat owners prefer him 41% to 38%.

Why? Most likely, the reason is that McCain owns several pets and Obama doesn’t own any. (Those who don’t own a pet actually prefer Obama to McCain by 48% to 34%.)

The results, while they might seem frivolous, are newsworthy because they indicate the value people place on animal ownership. They also underscore our generally fuzzy understanding of these candidates.

Yes, animal lovers are usually warm and compassionate people. But judging a candidate on his friendliness to felines and/or canines doesn’t quite seem compelling enough to pick the next leader who will be making decisions on wars, the economy and other subjects of national significance.

Then again, what else at this point do we have to go on? The candidates’ views on at least several key issues are still a mystery.

Take long-term care. How much do we really know what they think? McCain tipped his hand slightly this week when he announced his promise to balance the budget, in part through cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. That certainly sends a message to long-term care providers since Medicare and Medicaid are the funding lifeblood of nursing homes.

But what lengths would Obama go to balance the budget? I’d like to know. And what do the nominees think about the issue of paying for long-term care? How about that worsening nursing shortage?

All tough questions—but worthy ones. It would be great to get some more from our two candidates on these issues. That way we will have more than Fido or Fluffy in mind when we cast our votes in November.
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McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.

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