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U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin said he’s also been bombarded with messages, most of them against intervention. He tracks the raw numbers, but he also tries to gauge the constituents’ level of passion and the strength of their arguments. “You sort of weigh the substance of what people are saying, but you also weigh the quantity, and you also weigh the intensity,” Griffin, a Little Rock Republican, said. “You don’t just put that in a computer and calculate, ‘OK. This is how I’m going to vote.’ … There’s no set calculus.” But constituent messages are an important barometer, and the 2nd District congressman said he pays close attention. “A good representative, regardless of what their final decision on an issue is, will have their finger on the pulse of what’s going on with the people they represent,” Griffin said.
Rep. Tim Griffin from central Arkansas’ 2nd District said the tally in his office from all contacts including an online poll is 3,000 against and 460 in favor – “the most overwhelming I think I’ve seen on any issue since I’ve been in Congress, period.” Griffin, who voted against funding the 2011 strike against Libya, has been openly skeptical since President Obama first started talking about taking military action against Syria. He said he wanted to keep an open mind until he received a classified briefing from administration officials this week. That briefing only hardened his opposition into a firm no. Even before the flood of contacts began swamping his office, he could tell which way public opinion in Arkansas was heading. If he had been on the fence, it would have made a difference. “In my experience, if you’re going to vote against 85 percent of your constituents, you’d better have a really compelling reason,” he said.