By Alice StewartJournalist / Media Consultant

Election results in a classic red-state vs. blue-state showdown are on the minds of millions of American voters. There's no incumbent in this race, those on the ballot are a clear contrast of your conservative, younger, boy-next-door candidate versus your liberal, more experienced, glamour guy. Both have proven they have the desire and skills to be worthy of securing the most votes.


We're not talking about our next American president, rather the next "American Idol." The winner of the eighth season will be announced tonight. Before you cast this off as a rock-and-roll reality show, consider Idol as a successful democracy.

Like political candidates, Idol finalists Arkansan Kris Allen and Californian Adam Lambert have been living in a bubble, campaigning, and asking for votes for months.

Voter turn-out has been overwhelming. Last week alone, 88 million American Idol votes were cast. Compare that to the 2008 presidential election, with roughly 127 million Americans casting ballots.

While talent is the main factor behind an Idol vote, political consultants do believe demographic and geographic issues are a major influence.

The latest polls indicate a close race. The New York Daily News has Allen winning with 64% of the votes. Whereas, the Rasmussen Prediction Center shows 52% predict Adam Lambert will be crowned the next Idol champ, while 48% predict Allen will walk away the winner. Keep in mind this is not a poll, rather a prediction.

Like a presidential race, Idol insiders say this is not a competition based entirely on talent and experience, it's also a popularity contest.

Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, does see a relevant connection between Idol and the President of the United States yet points out a stark contrast.

"In a presidential election, there are two pre-established teams, you have Republicans and Democrats that voters are watching with interest," Rasmussen said. "In 'Idol,' there are no pre-established teams, you generate interest in a contestant over time."

Another difference is the level of competition between the candidates. Having been backstage at most of the 2008 presidential debates, the candidates were friendly, yet the debate performance and competition was always front and center.

That doesn't appear to be the case with "Idol." Allen and Lambert are as friendly off camera as they are on stage.

Arkansas news anchor Kevin Kelly was backstage with both contestants before and after their final performances.

"They didn't appear as though they were heading into the boxing ring," said Kelly. "After the show they were laughing together and complimenting each other."

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just get the same level of voter loyalty and candidate camaraderie in our political elections? Now that would be an "Idol" Democracy.

Alice Stewart is a Media Consultant, Political Commentator and Journalist. To read more, please go to: www.alicestewart.com