People (myself included) frequently knock populism as pandering to know-nothings. But voters aren’t all that stupid (from an excellent New Yorker article on the presidential race in Ohio):
Snodgrass reacted with equal skepticism to Obama’s proposal for expanding health care. “It scares the heck out of me,” she said. “If the employers are going to cover more, we’re going to get less in our raises. My raise every year is like a cost-of-living raise. How are they going to be able to give me more money?” The margin of error in her life was so slim, she felt, that any attempt to improve lives with ambitious new programs could only end up harming her.
UPDATE: Here’s a priceless anecdote from the article:
A maintenance man at the nearby high school, who declined to give his name, said that he had been undecided until McCain selected Palin to be his running mate, which swung his support to Obama.
“So you’re a sexist more than a racist,” Herbert joked.
“I just think the guy Obama picked would do better if he got assassinated than McCain’s if he died of frickin’ old age in office,” the maintenance man said.