Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Don't believe the polls

Accuracy Of Polls a Question In Itself

"..there appears to be an undercurrent of worry among some polling professionals and academics. One reason is the wide variation in Obama leads: Just yesterday, an array of polls showed the Democrat leading by as little as two points and as much as 15 points. The latest Washington Post-ABC News tracking poll showed the race holding steady, with Obama enjoying a lead of 52 percent to 45 percent among likely voters" while Rasmussen says
"Obama Lead Down to 3 Points" Gallup shows "Obama up by 2" and Pew up by 15. Who ya gonna believe? I'd say Ghostbusters, over these pollsters.

Everyone around here is tired of the campaigns. The yard signs have been up for months, ever since primary season, and the national signs are just everywhere. My friend in Maine posted the above photo in her online newspaper, which pretty well captures the feeling.

We shall see what we shall see come Tuesday night...or Wednesday...or Thursday... whenever it's settled. What I'll not forget about this campaign is its incivility.

I've been involved with politics, elections, and campaigns since I was around 6 or 8. My father was involved in supporting various state and national legislators, and he ran for local office himself. I remember drafty Grange halls with echoing wood plank floors, the colorful signs everywhere, the bustling activity. Most of all I remember the feeling that you were doing something valuable, important.

In college I went to listen to John Anderson, whose initial 25% surge in the pols incited the imaginations of us college kids. Anderson's finish was still the best showing for a third party candidate since George Wallace 13% in 1968, and the sixth best for any such candidate in the 20th century (trailing Theodore Roosevelt's 27% in 1912, Robert LaFollette's 17% in 1924, Wallace, and Ross Perot's 19% and 9% in 1992 and 1996, respectively). There was a feeling of excitement that something different was happening, and we thought that in merican politics was if not pure, at least every person did make a solid difference.

Since then there have been some exciting moments, the surprise of Reagan, the Clinton MTV generation questioning the all-important boxers or briefs question (oy), the silliness of the Dukakis in the tank...but nowadays "in the tank" means something more ominous and in my opinion portends the death of the media and as a result, the rise of unrestrained government

The excitement of legitimate debate of previous elections cycles, reflected accurately in all media, is gone. In its place is an entire news media in the tank for Obama, without scrutiny, vetting, or probing questions of the man vying to run this country. When Barbara West did ask some pointed questions of VP candidate Sen. Biden, his responses weren't the news, her questions were.

Now we no longer have debate, instead we have fistfights at nursing homes, VA McCain workers attacked with mace, and most horribly, an effigy of Governor Palin hanging by the neck until dead.

The response to each of these and all the other cases of bullying in place of debate I have not mentioned, is either excuses by the press or simple ignoring. So what we have is a useless media who no longer not even investigates properly but fails to demonstrate a model for civil discourse and thoughtful debate even among themselves; pollsters who are not reflecting the voter view but trying to shape it; and an angry, uncivil electorate incapable of exchanging thoughtful opinions but instead descending to the argument of first resort: violence.

Not much about this campaign can be trusted, the polls, the donations, the words, nor even the results, given the massive amount of voter registration fraud occurring nationwide. I'm sad to have watched the innocent optimism of spirited elections from my earlier days descend into media/pollster carefully managed fake events. Such is the world we live in today...

Note: Above Photo by Ted MacDonald, from MaineHomeTownNews


Anonymous said...

What this election makes clear, as well as the elections of 2004 and 2000, is that the Electoral College needs to be dismissed and the will of the majority needs to be respected. For the past several elections, if you are in Georgia, California, New York, Texas, or about 40 other states, your vote effectively doesn't count and you get no time with the candidates. People in Florida and Ohio and Pennsylvania have far too much power. The Electoral College not only no longer serves a purpose, but is is anti-democracy. Hopefully if we get 2-4 years of one party majority in Congress, the Senate and the White House, we can finally get this country on a fair election system where everyone has a vote that is meaningful.

Christie said...

I agree with anonymous. In years past, us folks in Oregon would hear the race called before we even dropped our ballots off. Before our votes were even counted!

That being said, we've got to find a way to ensure votes are counted accurately and that there aren't glitches in voting machines.

Anonymous said...

I'd be surprised if anyone in a small state would agree to abolishing the electoral college. All a candidate would have to do is capture California and New York and perhaps Chicago. Anyone in a rural state would be left in the lurch as candidates would only need to focus on high density areas.

Anonymous said...

The electoral college was set up by our founders so that all states would have a hand in choosing the President- not just the most populous. They showed their wisdom and if that hadn't been included, smaller states may have taken a pass on ratifying the Constitution as a whole. The idea that California, Florida, and New York would be the only places a candidate would need to campaign in due to their populations in order to win the White House would quickly make those super states and all the rest mere minor players. We are a republic of equal states. Attempts to minimize that are foolish.

Anonymous said...

Actually, not only does the electoral college not create equality, it substantially contributes to inequality. Whether a state is "small" or "rural" makes no difference: if a significant majority of a state votes for one party (say Democrat), the voters in the minority (say Republican) simply do not matter and their votes do not count.

A more fair system where EVERY VOTE WOULD COUNT would be to allocate votes by much smaller regions instead of giving a full state to a candidate just because he received more than 50% of the vote. Think about it. If a candidate gets 51% of the vote, it doesn't seem fair to give that entire state to that candidate just as if he had gotten 90% of the vote.

The most fair way to allocate smaller regions is obvious: just let the popular vote decide the election. Then every vote really counts and every state and every voter is "in play" and a candidate can't just take them for granted because they live in a "Red" or "Blue" state.

There has been talk that with one party ruling the White House, Senate and Congress, the popular vote may become the new standard for the U.S. I think some have even written an "ever voter counts" bill. I pray this passes because I want my vote to mean something again! I'm tired of being taken for granted here in GA!