Time zone and daylight saving issues may influence who becomes the Indiana’s next governor when the state heads down the election path on November 4, 2008.
Indiana’s current governor Mitch Daniels is competing against Democrat candidate Jill Long Thompson, a former member of Congress, to win the state’s gubernatorial election. There has been much heated debate between the two parties on various issues such as time zones and daylight saving time in the lead up to the election.
Indiana’s gubernatorial race is part of the United States gubernatorial elections of 2008, which coincide with the presidential election as well as the United States Senate and the House of Representatives elections among other local and state elections.
Governor’s Earlier Decision
As the state’s governor, Daniels has pushed for Indiana to be united in observing daylight saving time. The topic of Indiana’s daylight saving time and time zones remain to be controversial and have intensified arguments between both gubernatorial candidates prior to the election. For many years, Indiana's 92 counties debated and gone their separate ways on issues related to daylight saving time and time zones. However, Indiana, for the third time, was a unified state when it observed daylight saving time on March 9, 2008.
Since 2006, each county in Indiana has remained consistent in conforming to the state’s daylight saving time regulations each year. However, there are many disgruntled citizens in counties near the Eastern-Central boundary and some have voiced their opinion for a vote for their preferred time zone in the future. Then there are people in south-western Indiana who prefer Central Standard Time (Central Time) while others in the state prefer Eastern Standard Time (Eastern Time).
Can Long Thompson and Daniels Win Voters with Time Zone Issues?
Some Indiana citizens have expressed dissatisfaction with Daniels’ push to move Indiana to daylight saving time and this issue may swing them to vote for the opposition. According to Long Thompson, the time zone issue reflected a problem with leadership in the governor's office and cost residents millions of dollars. She has already voiced her opinion that a statewide referendum should be held to decide the time zone issues. Long Thompson has proposed two referendums – one to ask voters on what time zone Indiana should be in and the other to ask if the state should observe daylight saving time.
However, not everyone agrees with Long Thompson’s view on Indiana’s time zones and many still support Daniels’ decision to ensure Indiana observed daylight saving time in unity. According to an Indianapolis Star- WTHR (Channel 13) poll in September 2008, nearly half of likely voters supported Daniels' backing of daylight saving time in Indiana, with 48 percent calling it a good decision, 36 percent saying it was a bad call and 16 percent who were unsure. Moreover, there are people who believe that it is best to leave the time zones as they are now for the sake of avoiding further confusion.