- The Washington Times - Monday, August 23, 2004

Although Democrats and Republicans duke it out over serious campaign issues, a spate of ideological sideshows devised by pollsters, flacks and clever marketers dot the outskirts of the American political process.

For better or worse.

Brite Smile, a California-based tooth-whitening manufacturer, polled 1,002 adults to discover that they thought President Bush had a better smile than Democratic opponent Sen. John Kerry, 25 percent to 17 percent.

Sen. John Edwards beat both of them with 45 percent of the votes, while Vice President Dick Cheney garnered a dismal 4 percent.

“Given how many times the candidates will smile for the cameras between now and November, we thought we should put their smiles to the test,” said spokesman Christopher Edwards.

First lady Laura Bush’s smile was preferred to Teresa Heinz Kerry’s by 56 percent to 15 percent in the poll, which was released Friday.

Not to be outdone, Match.com, a Dallas-based online dating service, surveyed 1,001 single people to determine that 41 percent felt Mr. Kerry best addressed “issues important to them,” while 31 percent chose Mr. Bush.

The group did not specify what issues were of particular importance to singles, although their survey supported the case to get out and vote: 91 percent said they were more likely to fall in love with someone who was registered to vote than someone who was not.

“We hope singles will begin to feel more included in the political process,” said Match.com spokeswoman Trish McDermott, calling single people “a large and influential voting bloc.”


“Ask April” relationship columnist April Masini was to unveil dating services for the politically minded yesterday in Los Angeles. “Dating Democrats” and “Dating Republicans” have their own respective Web sites, where “liberals meet liberals and conservatives meet conservatives,” she says.

“While there certainly is a myth that ‘opposites attract,’ the truth is, ‘like’ attracts ‘like.’” Miss Masini observed.

And if Mr. Kerry was a hit with singles, he also makes it with the cookies-and-milk set, at least according to California-based Neopets, which markets cartoon characters to children.

But it’s close.

According to a poll of 1,800 children taken July 26, 44 percent said they’d vote for Mr. Kerry while 38 percent picked Mr. Bush. One percent would vote for Ralph Nader; and 11 percent remained undecided.

The children proved to be sophisticated news consumers, with 71 percent saying they got their “election news” from broadcast networks, 41 percent from cable TV, 45 percent from newspapers and 40 percent from the Internet.

Last but certainly not least, Turner Classic Movies will morph Washington, D.C., and Hollywood together as Election Day looms. The vintage-movie channel will feature “Party Politics and the Movies,” every Thursday in October, featuring a select lawmaker hosting his favorite film.

Turner notes that the effort is “bipartisan.”

Mr. Edwards leads off the series on Oct. 7, introducing Stanley Kubrick’s cult classic, “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.”

Mr. Edwards cautioned, “Putting this kind of power and this potential holocaust in the hands of human beings, no matter who they are, is an extraordinarily dangerous thing.”

Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, follows the next week, hosting “Paths of Glory,” which he explained illustrates “the incredible obligation …our government has for the expenditure of our most precious treasure and that’s American blood.”

Sens. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat, and Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, round things out respectively with “Dead Poets Society” on Oct. 21, and “To Kill a Mockingbird” on Oct. 28.

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