Political candidates are more important than parties for present-day voters

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Washington, November 16 : A professor of political science at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia says that there has been a significant shift from party-centred voting to candidate-centred voting of late.

"This is a turning point. What we have is no longer party-centered voting. We've entered the era of 'candidate-centered' politics. Most voters aren't strong Democrats or strong Republicans anymore. Party is important, but it keeps getting less and less important," says Dr. Graham Lee.

"This year's election was all about selling the candidate, especially to people who had no dominant party affiliation," he added.

According to him, the days of straight-ticket voting are gone, except for isolated groups.

"We want to be 'cafeteria' Democrats or Republicans. I don't think the straight-ticket vote will come back," he says.

Lee also addressed the issue of a surge in participation in this year's election.

"There was a tremendous increase in the number of people who voted in 2008. And for many, it was their first time. And not just for those who recently became eligible, either," he said.

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