Keller @ Large: Do You Like To Have Choices?

BOSTON (CBS) – Do you like to have choices?

Believe it or not, plenty of people do not.

A survey by Consumer Reports found that “option overload” is a growing problem.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Over the past three decades, product options in the average supermarket have quintupled. You can find 11 flavors of Cheerios, 25 types of Head & Shoulders shampoo, and at least 53 varieties of Campbell’s condensed soup.

A psychology professor who studies this claims all these choices can freeze shoppers in their tracks, and cause dissatisfaction with the choices they do make “because they think an unchosen item might have been better.”

All of which leads us to New Hampshire, where the legislature is considering a bill to add a “none of the above” option to the ballot. The only state that has it is Nevada, where “none of the above” has been known to draw tens of thousands of votes.

Proponents say it’s a valid form of protest against the status quo. Critics call it useless, because the real-live candidate with the most votes still wins, and insulting to the real people on the ballot.

While I’m all for having as many choices as possible when it comes to soup or candidates, I have to wonder if “none of the above” is more cop-out than choice.

It lets apathetic or uninformed voters off the hook by giving them a cheap way to vent. Is it better to just razz an incumbent you don’t like, or give him a real scare by voting for his opponent, however imperfect they may be?

Then you can do the same for the new guy, if he fails to deliver.

Elections aren’t like choosing a soup.

If we’re really serious citizens, we’ve got to be ready to do more than add water and stir.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


More from Jon Keller
  • New Hampshire to consider allowing voters to choose no candidate

    […] all for having as many choices as possible when it comes to soup or candidates,” says Jon Keller, a news analyst at Boston’s WBZ-TV, but “I have to wonder if ‘none of the above’ is more cop-out than choice.” […]

  • None-of-the-above an option for dissatisfied voters? | Marjorie Arons-Barron

    […] WBZ commentator Jon Keller says the none-of-the-above option is a cop-out, and I think he’s right. More often than not, we’re stuck with voting for the lesser of two (or more) evils, and sorting out the candidacies can be hard work.  But sorting it out is the challenge of being an informed voter. If the outcome of a race in which “none of the above” wins were a requirement for a subsequent special election, having the option is an indulgence and a waste of taxpayer money. There’s no doubt we need better candidates willing to come forward and run for office, but creating a none-of-the-above option to avoid making a tough choice is not a way to bring that about. […]

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