GP Poll: Will Video Game Issue Decide Your Presidential Vote?

April 14, 2008 -
Bonnie Ruberg's recent Heroine Sheik post, which detailed her quandary over just how important the video game censorship issue would be when she casts her presidential vote, got us thinking, too.

What, for instance, will GP do? (and I've got to decide quickly, because the Pennsylvania primary is just eight days away)...

More importantly, what will you do?

Given the situation with Iraq, with the economy, with environmental issues, with Homeland Security, with energy, the credit crisis, the housing market, etc., will your choice come down to a candidate's stance on video game issues?

How do we place video game issues in their proper context?

We'd like to know what you think.

Make your opinion known by voting in today's GamePolitics poll, located in the upper right sidebar, and feel free to offer additional thoughts by commenting to this post.


a candidates' stance on video game legislation reflects a number of issues including...

free speech,

individual rights,

free markets,

parents rights,

monetary policy (costly and foreseeable appeals),

double standards (other media not include shows a lack of willingness to consider obvious double standards.)

ability to act on information and consider the problem vs. opportunistic pandering to public fears
a cannidates' stance on video game legislation can easily show what kind of president they will be and should be considered when you choose any politician.

Obama talked about supporting federally funded studies into the effects of video games.

The question with obama is will anyone vote for him due to his latest blunder. No I'm sure I am just too bitter...

@TBone Tony
"For other issues like Tibet Vs China and Global Warming, they are pretty much hot topics that will get thrust around more in the Mainstream Media with both sides of politics."

The problem with those popular issues is that China vs a province it will never allow to leave is not an issue since we moved all the manufacturing business to China and now dependent on all posturing aside there is no chance of this being solved any time soon...
Global Warming has not been scientifically proven, it has just been accepted the same way that we accepted nukes in Iraq in 2003... The huge amount of scientists coming out against GW are ignored. now they are labeled neo-cons or crazies... so while this has become a major political issue it is not a proven scientific fact and should be ignored until it is proven scientifically not when some political party accepts it... but if it is true then I vote to kill all the cows since they produce the vast majority of greenhouse gases...

The main issues for me are economy, health care, smart/humane laws(some laws are simply insane, cost billions, create criminals and break the 8th amendment of the bill of rights), switching away from oil, Iraq, first amendment of the bill of rights, second amendment of the bill of rights.

In that order...


Defending the indefensible, thats fine. This comment of his really shows you the kind of man he his and that is an elitist business as usual politician (make no mistake all three of them are) Saying that people cling to guns and religion because they are bitter is an absurd notion and while you cite your town there are hundreds if not thousands of towns that would disagree with Obama's ignorant claim.

The said fact of the matter is that no matter who is elected president we are going to see a growth in government, taxes, and a loss of more freedom all in the name of trying to help and care for you.

Since video games are the latest bastion of free speech, of course they're a big issue for me.

My vote is actually for the London Mayoral elections, but the theory is the same. It will be an important factor, but it will not be the only one.

(Not that my vote really matters, being a Greenie)

Wish I could say that games will be the core of my choices for november, but several other things are for more pressing for me then that stuff.

Still, I don't like hilary cause her stance on games, among a number of other things is well known. Barack? Well, lets just say he needs to make some better choices in what he says, what he does, and who he associates with.

As for Mccain, tough on. Don't like some of his ideas, don't like the idea of sticking around in Iraq for longer then we need to, but on the other hand, I think a conservitive approach to the economy and healthcare, instead of stealing money from the middle class to give to the poor and lazy, seems like a better plan.

Still, I'm divided. Hillary and barack are to socialist in my view, but Mccain may wind up wasting millions on a pointless war.

It really is a question of the Lesser of three evils.

One thing I've considered is that, if you're voting Democrat (and a lot of habitual gamers would lean that way, I think), it's hard to find a strong difference between Hillary and Obama's policies. They both hate Iraq, both love healthcare, blah, blah, blah. So to me at least they're basically two identical candidates, except one's got a proven record of wanting to censor media for the sake of protecting stupid parents. In that context, yes, I would vote based on a candidate's stance on games - it's certainly not the most important issue to me, but I've failed to distinguish between candidates based on anything I would consider more important.

Partly. It's not just video games. This is systematic of a nanny state mindset that I find abhorrent. Sadly, it's a mindset that is more and more common, but it's something I simply can not vote for.

You're a total fucking idiot if you decide who to vote for based on their stance on videogames. There are far more important issues.

[...] wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptBonnie Ruberg’s recent Heroine Sheik post, which detailed her quandary over just how important the video game censorship issue would be when she casts her presidential vote, got us thinking, too. What, for instance, will GP do? (and I’ve got to decide quickly, because the Pennsylvania primary is just eight days away)… More importantly, what will you do? Given the situation with Iraq, with the economy, with environmental issues, with Homeland Security, with energy, the credit crisis, the housing market, etc., will your choice come down to a candidate’s stance on video game issues? How do we place video game issues in their proper context? We’d like to know what you think. Make your opinion known by voting in today’s GamePolitics poll, located in the upper right sidebar, and feel free to offer additional thoughts by commenting to this post. [...]

For me in Australia, the elections were last year in November.

And with Australia talking about an R ratings for Videogames so soon after the election, I feel that as a gamer in the land downunder, it has been a positive step since the last government had no interest in Videogames.

Although I could be wrong though, as the new PM in my country is wanting Laptops in every school, I am still conserned about his and his parties stances on the Videogame issue and how there is still no proven link between violent videogames and violence in real life.

it is just the South Australian AG that is the main problem here, and he has been in power for more than 10 years or so. And that has nothing to do with the Australian Federal Government.

But yeah, looking at what is happening in America and the UK and looking at the extreme politicians there, I will keep an eye on what the Australian Government of today says about Videogames.

For me, Videogames are a important issue personally because no one ever consideres it important.

For other issues like Tibet Vs China and Global Warming, they are pretty much hot topics that will get thrust around more in the Mainstream Media with both sides of politics.

So I try to hear about the smaller, but still important issues that involve within the country.

It wouldn't be my final deciding factor, no. But it is something I would take seriously and weigh with all the other issue. Stances on video games are like a barometer for other, more serious issues.

How does the canidate feel about free speech?
Are the knowledgeable of modern tech issues?
Do they look to cure society's problems, or blame them on easy targets?

When you think about it, even though video games seem trivial in light of war and economics, there are several social issues tied to video games' fates. So you probably shouldn't completely dismiss a canidate for their gaming policies, but you should take notice of them.

Even if Hilary were elected, its not like she could just snap her fingers and make legislation constitutional. That said, I still won't be voting for her.


You’re a total fucking idiot if you decide who to vote for based on their stance on videogames. There are far more important issues.

No, it's a useful factor for deciding, as it does tend to help show their priorities and views on other matters.

For example someone pushing censoring games, and making a big deal about games causing violence ain't too likely to do a good job in office. They're likely too far to the left or the right in regards to speech to be someone we'd want in office. Likewise if they're busy making any sort of deal about videogames, they probably don't have their priorities in place, and will waste time and money doing things that will make them look good, as opposed to actually getting useful stuff accomplished.

Err, that should be "priorities in the *right* place"

For the most part. It's the #1 issue at least. But I haven't heard many candidates views on it yet. I know Clinton's a no-no. McCain hasn't said anything, but he's got the same black ties to Lieberman as Clinton. He's out. Obama said he's willing to hear the issue before deciding, so we'll see about him.

@GP, it would be so nice if you could find and post a list of the candidates and their views on games (or if you already had, either update or link to the archive).

I love my games. I am a gore hound also so I also love violent games and movies and such. If Hilary wins she will try to eliminate them ALL "for the children". If she does manage to do something to violent video games I'm importing from Europe.


Be happy we still care at all. I wasn't even registered till last month. I didn't want to vote. I've been screwed over by more politians, regardless of well I research the campaign. It's easy to say,

"What's the point? This world is beyond redemption; let the [heathen] cattle have it."

The hope, that our generation can help change the world, is not easy to come by. It seems a fantastic dream, like winning the lottery. No matter how hard you fight, everything just seems to be slipping backwards faster. It's frustrating. Sometimes, it feels like you've just run out of faith. At least I'm voting. So, you're welcome.

if you don't understand that a pro-censorship position on one type of media is just a politician wishing there were a way to censor everything, you have no place calling people "total fucking idiots."

I'd normally be going with McCain because I am a business (co)owner. However, his spotty net-neutrality & Iraq stance make it difficult for me. Hillary is simply a no-no for a plethora of reasons- video games is no small part.

Yes I agree with Vake Xeacons, myself, like many others im sure, havent been able to keep up with every canidates views on every matter out there, Ive heard and caught a few things here and there about them but not the whole picture. I think that would make a great post. Because like Are'el said, even though it may seem trivial, it really is a good way to see hte canidates views on very important social issues.

I'm not eligible to vote in the US election so my opinion won't go any further than that, but I think that while a candidate's stance toward videogames is important in itself, it's of greater significance as a barometer of a more overarching attitude. Since there is absolutely zero proof that videogames are harmful to minors; since videogames are already well-established as an adult pastime; since videogames have time and again been determined by US courts as having the same First Amendment protections as other forms of media; and since there is already a very well-functioning regulatory body in the ESRB, what does it say about a candidate who finds any kind of need to impose legislation against the industry, much less make it a priority? A leader who ignores factual evidence in order to pander to the masses for political expedience is not someone I'd want serving at the head of the most powerful nation in the world. It's not worth excluding a candidate based on that single issue entirely, but it does demand much greater scrutiny of his or her (let's face it, her) positions, credibility and suitability for the big chair.

For me the economy is #1, but video games are one of the few things we still make in this country, so they kinda fall onto the same plate. All the candidates suck, but Hillary is still the worst, so she can piss off. Speech censoring bitch...

While free speech is very important, how that applies specifically to video games is not going to be my deciding factor when voting.

In MN voting against the video game law supporters coincides with my political view in my area, but it is not what decides my vote.

On the national level there is little reason to bicker over video games (or other luxuries) when economics and other serious concerns remain. Besides, whoever is the next president (or possibly whoever wins the election after that) will be appointing judges who will determine if video games fall under free speech or not. We are a long way from have a set decision on the issue at the national level.

Well, I've already cast my vote for Obama and am a die-hard supporter. And while hist stance on video games weighed-in on my decision, it wasn't the biggest, nor the only factor.

Like many, I regard the video game stance as a barometer vis a vis other issues. I've said before that Hillary displays an attitude that she wants to be everyone's mom, and I don't like that. Others have seen this too. Someone on another thread pointed out that her stance on the issue shows she's willing to disregard the First Amendment when it suits her and violate the rights of a group of people whom she thinks aren't large enough to be worth protecting if it means getting easy votes. I've seen that level of arrogance refelected in almost everything else she says and does.

McCain I'm not so sure about. He doesn't seem to be as arrogant or a censor-happy as Hillary, but as was said here earlier, I remember him being right up there next to Lieberman and echoing his sentiments with regards to video gams. At the same time, though, I think he's aware there are much bigger and more relevant issues at stake, which is why he's never addressed it really. And yes, I'm one of those people who would sooner vote for McCain than Hillary if Obama didn't get the nomination. But that' a discussion for another time.

How a person stands on video games is a great way to judge if the politician's a tool or actually thinks about subjects. It can show if a politician really values free speech and how he feels about the media. That in mind I'm Canadian so I don't care who wins the election unless it's some moron who thinks we're harboring illegal WMDs.

I always assumed Canadians were up to no good. But seriously, I figure Canadians probably mostly care about free trade issues when it comes to the politics of their neighbors to the south. Like, how do they feel about the North American highway, which would allow cheaply paid Mexican truckers to drive all the way up into Canada, and compete with regional truckers for jobs? Bush is pushing for such a thing, but it seems likely that his successor will have some say in that as well.

Again, I hope to God Jesse Ventura runs.

I have no problem admitting that by and large, video game issues play no factor in my vote. The logic behind how I'm voting is actually relatively simple.

1. The video game industry will survive whomever we elect. They've survived multiple presidents, they'll survive this one.
2. Bi-partisanship is largely extinct. If we elect a majority democratic congress, we cannot elect a republican president if we want to get anything done. They'll quibble for years, and we have to assume that whomever we elect will serve two terms. They do.
3. I'm sick to death of Iraq. It has officially gone on longer then the civil war, and I'm tired of politicans who think it's OK to keep us that at enormous cost when it's not working. More specifically, I'm tired of politicians who think it's OK to spend more time and resources on international policy then domestic. Maybe I'm crazy, but I think we should spend a little less time trying to police the world and fix a few of our own damn problems. Accordingly, I cannot support a candidate who supports Iraq. Period.
4. I can't support Hillary, if only because I spent a little time looking over her healthcare proposals and she's frigging nuts. As messed up as our healthcare system is, her stuff would be like trying to fix a traffic jam by adding a few jackknifed semis. Besides, it drives me nuts when she argues about how "experienced" she is. Excuse me, since when is first lady a position of any actual power?

In short. I'm praying Barak wins the democratic primary - because if he doesn't I have no idea how I can vote.

In the wide picture I cannot say that games Should be a deciding factor compared to things like a recession, war and crime. Should not but at least on some levels does. Any politician on a medium to low level that attacks my pastime will not get my vote, pety maybe but there it is. Sometimes you just have to go with the least the evils (and evils in that reference are politicians. Though on second thought they usually are evils anyway).

Those polticians that chose to make a platform out of attacking games instead of addressing larger problems are open to blantant contempt and disgust and should expect nothing more.

The war in Iraq is probably number 2 after Economy, then comes health care, education, freedom of speech etc. So Obama is my man, if the Aristocrats in the Democratic Party decide to let us eat cake and put up Hillary then I'm still going to vote Obama as a write-in.

i can't see how anyone can be constantly bitching about costs in Iraq and not be absolutely sickened by the fact that the government isn't even pretending that they aren't in the pocket of Big Oil currently.

four years of "record profits" and yet gas prices are still climbing AND they continually request further government money for "research"

Problem is our "progame" candidates aren't so much "progame" as they aren't explicibly and outspokenly antigame like Hilary is. Frankly, we don't know exactly where they stand and its not even a choice between the lesser of two evils but an evil and a possible evil. We haven't had a candidate make a single speech about the importance of protecting free speech from media hysteria, so we have to assume that by saying nothing they aren't against gaming and therefore they are by default for gaming.

No. My vote hinges on, in my opinion, more important issues. Videogames are only a hobby.

Yeah. Fix the economy first, then you damn politicians can get your asses kicked in court when you dick around with the first amendment.

Not entirely but the video game question is a good indicator for the candidates stance on censorship in general.

only a retard would pick the leader of his or her country based on video game views, I would rather they have thier mind on other things. I would no sooner base my vote on video game opioion than I would on the race or sex of the person ( ya you know who you are )

a candidate's position on games causing violent crimes should be taken into account. it basically tells you how intelligent someone is. if they blame video games on violence then they are either dumb or easily lead and should not be president. video games cause no more violence than comic books, heavy metal, or rap music - all were accused of doing this in the past.

There are things out there bigger than games, and certainly bigger than any of us. Voting means nothing now. Ron Paul was the last best hope for the defense of American liberty. For the defense of the Republic..........

Have you ever heard of the military industrial complex?

Presidents, governors, senators, judges, mayors, and other assorted political figureheads come and go, but the military industrial complex stays. It is forever. And BTW this isn't some conspiracy BS. Eisenhower and George Washington both warned us of standing armies and private bankers. You all should watch Zeitgeist. That fleshes out my argument better than my writings.

Thank god I am throwing my vote away and voting for Ron Paul. This becomes a non-issue for me. I dont have to worry about him changing the constitution or creating an unconstitutional law. Until more people start throwing their votes away for candidates that did not receive the nomination of the two big parties we will be stuck in a rut of going nowhere as a country. Only politicians looking out for their own best interest, promising you the world and doing nothing.

Even more so when the lesser evils are so alike your screwed no matter what you do, from what I have seen and read,Obama is right of Hillerys left on most issues, his plans might be reaching seem to be better balanced than hers, Mccain is a fcking sell out and his neo reaper leaders are as scary as theneo dims palying petty politics while they are in power.

What I would not give for Ron Paul or a old style money conservative even a good solid blue collar democrate would be nice but all we seem to have now adays are soulless neo fck wads.....

I am leaning to Obama if not him then Mcain maybe.... I hate throwing my vote away but I might just do that and vote or a 3rd wheel.

Media and censorship issues are important, but... c'mon. Is anyone seriously making this their only concern, or even a major concern, in determining who to vote for for PRESIDENT? Is this really more important than the war, or the economy, or foreign policy, or sustainable energy issues, or anything else that actually affects your LIFE?

At this point there's no way Hillary can get the nomination, but if she did, you can be damn sure I'd be voting for her, no matter how much anti-game political pandering she'd done. This country can't afford another four years of Republican incompetence. There are too many issues that actually matter in this world to make video games anything close to a priority.

Sure it will be a factor for me, it decides the fate of my career.... but I get the feeling that the 47+ people who said that games will be their "deciding factor" aren't actually old enough to vote.

Yes it will be a factor for me.

I am not an economist. I am not a diplomat. I can't tell if the proposed plans from these yahoo candidates will improve the economy or our world standing. And after being lied to by every candidate for the past 20 years, I think we're boned either way.

But I do know that the Bill of Rights is important. I also know that if a candidate is stupid or malevolent enough to try and strip those rights from it's constituency, dictatorship and revolution are not far away. I may not know much, but I know how to watch the History Channel.

I'm 20 and that is my deciding factor. I vote.

No. The only potential candidates even talking about this are Democrats. The Democratic Party and their platform, etc. hit "Epic Fail" level with me before getting anywhere near the issue of games.

The video game issue would normally be an important issue to me, not just for the most obvious reasons, but for the fact that any given politician's stance on it shows me exactly what kind of person they are.

However, since the two candidates who I know have railed against video games in the past aren't going to win no matter which one I vote for, the point is moot.

In case you can't tell, I'm saying that Senator John McCain is going to be the next President of the United States. Why? Because his opponent in November will be either a black man, or a woman, and as much as I don't like it, the voters of the U.S. are not willing to elect a non-white or a female.

Not that I think Obama or Clinton should get votes based on their skin color/gender, I'm saying that it shouldn't condemn them to failure. Their inner flaws should do that.

Whoops, I meant make "flaws" bold. Sorry. :)
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