Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Of polls and poles

April 4, 2010

As a general rule, the United Sates has four seasons……as a general rule. Living near Washington DC, however, I have to conclude that there are really only two seasons; election season and pre-election season (many people believe that there is also a post election season, but that is a myth and there is no reliable evidence that such a phenomenon exists). That being said, it is also a widely accepted fact that the latter is longer than the former and can last several years depending on where in the overall cycle you are. No matter the season though, there is a “fruit” that seems to thrive in any condition; the poll.

I’m not too sure when the first election poll took place, but polling in general has been around since the rock of ages was a pebble, (ever since the first cavemen were fielding ideas about how best to get that woolly mammoth). In recent times though, polling has taken up a greater significance in the nation’s politics.

Nothing is done unless politicians consult the polls, while at the same time declaring that they don’t care about polls. “We were put here to do a job, not listen to polls”. Yeah right!!! Some of them act as if their job IS listening to polls. You only get to make that statement though, depending on if the thing you’re trying to do is popular or not, determined, of course, by looking at the polls.

The thing about polls though is that I can’t figure out why people put so much stock in them. People who, in many cases, hold completely different positions on an issue, hold those positions based on what “our polls tell us”.

There seems to be a slight shift in DC at the moment though. The party in power is hard pressed to find a poll to support their position so they are forced to do things the old-fashioned way, go straight to the people you represent and try to convince them that they have their best interest at heart. The party not in power, however, can still find polls in abundance. There is a shift here also, in that the polls they are finding are telling them to just sit back, do absolutely nothing, and get paid…talk about a dream job.

Come to think about, these are probably the same polls another political party in another country used to look at some years ago. In that case though, the polls didn’t tell them to sit back, they said walk out, do absolutely nothing, and get paid. (You En See dey mad?). To be fair though, (because I am nothing if not fair)the weather in DC is only just getting nice enough for walking so maybe we’ll see a slight change in the response to polls.

I suppose it’s not unreasonable to rely on polls though. After all, the people who design them have gone to great lengths to make sure that we, (the polled) believe that it makes sense to talk to 6 people and determine from that, what 500 people think. It has been accepted for some time now that “representative sampling” is the way to go and obviously nobody is willing to stand up and say differently, maybe the polls have not been swinging in that direction as yet.

Speaking of polls and swinging…..the party not in power seems to be taking a different approach to the whole polling thing. Just recently we started hearing news about how they’ve been spending the money that “the polled” have been sending to them. Apparently, they’ve been using (I need to change the tense here, since we do not know that this is an ongoing thing) so, let’s do this again. Apparently they’ve used some of the money for “meals” at a “risque” establishment in West Hollywood. Well if these are the “poles” they’ve been consulting, the whole “just sit back” thing is beginning to make sense now. Hmmm…….I wonder what Drill baby drill really means.


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