By Editor-in-chief
updated 11/1/2006 8:14:21 AM ET 2006-11-01T13:14:21

The American people are not as polarized as their political system. Even the most partisan grassroots opinion leaders say they’re open to being persuaded on the hottest of hot-button issues.

While gridlock and polarization reign in Washington, members of the issues-based community HOTSOUP.comare running a discussion Loop called “ Issues You Can Hedge On.” Started by an anonymous writer named “dreambig,” the Loop invites highly opinionated community members to identify issues that bring out their inner waffle. Some examples:

  • Abortion: “I believe that abortion does stop a beating heart, but I also have compassion for the woman who is pregnant and does not want to be pregnant,” wrote Pepper2000z. Replied Libby: “I am strongly pro-choice, but I am willing to discuss the pro-life option if there is a real emphasis on basic needs.’’
  • Torture: “This is one of those “moral” issues I hedge on,’’ said LostInTheMiddle. Separately, a Democrat admits, “I am with Cheney, except I would never say so out loud.”
  • Drug Laws: A woman talks about her brother, a drug addict. “I rarely am a fence-sitter, but I could never see him jailed for his pot use yet I often wonder if he had been busted and received probation when he was 14 if he would be any different now.”
  • Iraq: A HOTSOUP poll shows little support for staying the course or withdrawing U.S. troop immediately. “I am open to being wrong,” wrote a pro-war member.

With gerrymandering and micro-targeting, it’s easy to forget in Washington that most voters are not solidly Republican or Democrat. Indeed, an analysis of 2004 exit polls showed that more than a third of straight-ticket voters are not at home with their parties (see the book “Applebee’s America” co-authored by two of HOTSOUP’s co-founders). Most Americans are looking for something different, and it certainly isn’t polarization. 

What are you looking for? Join the conversation with your peers at

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