Monday, March 5, 2007

The Droll Roll of the Poll...

I don't know about you, but I'm sick of 'polls'. Every time you turn around there's a new poll on something. And the polls have become news! What's with that? The news outlets are actually generating the news! Does anyone else think that's wrong or is it just me? Pretty soon we'll be polling the polls!

They're presented as 'fact' and really...they're nothing. The pollsters will tell you that the polls are a snapshot...I say they're more like a crude sketch. I'm convinced that if I wanted to influence any group of people, I could commission a poll and, using well crafted questions, obtain the results that I wanted.

Folks... we have to stop being so easy. We see a poll and we instantly take it as fact. We quote it and point to it like it's made of concrete. It ain't a matter of fact, you'll see that it more closely resembles silly putty or maybe some other substance that begins with an 's'. We've become malleable, pliable and just plain gullible. It seems that, as a people, we follow en masse, like a bunch of migrating lemmings. Maybe it's because believing in polls is easier than actually having to think as an individual. And, you know, the politicians, news organizations and pollsters know it.

We'll never be able to get rid of polls...they're here and they're here to stay. But what we should do is prohibit any form of polling during the last two months of any campaign...especially the presidential campaign. Ever wonder how many good candidates have been eliminated from a race because of the polling? They're labeled losers months...sometimes even years before the elections take place. If they had a sophisticated polling system in place in 'the old days'...would we have had Abe Lincoln as a president? I doubt it. How would Wilson have polled? Or Jefferson or even Washington, for that matter?

If we can't get rid of polls then I would suggest that anytime we hear the word 'poll'...we switch the channel...maybe we can catch an episode of Mythbusters.

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