Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Political polls fail to include everyone

Posted By on Wed, Oct 20, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Sometimes I want to shoot rubber bands at our politicians. Here's why: They can be serious morons. Let me ask you: Do you still have a home telephone or do you only use your cell phone? On either phone, do you screen your calls?

I ask because pollsters and politicians still conduct surveys like they did decades ago, by relying on potential voters to pick up their phones and answer a few questions. Well, the average citizen isn't having that nonsense these days. They're too busy to be bothered. Yet, pollsters are disregarding the cultural shift and pundits still squawk about the polls as if they're predicting the future through a crystal ball.

I take issue with this giant pile of shit for this reason: When you continually tell people elections are already decided, you're also telling them their votes don't matter. Though, the truth is elections are never decided until the voting booths close and the last vote is tallied. We don't have to look that far back in history to note that every vote does, in fact, count and can make a huge, huge difference. I mean, what if Al Gore had won in Florida in 2000? Seriously: What if?

I'm bringing this up because the Raleigh News & Observer ran a story this week about this very thing. Read it here.

But, hell, by all means, be sure to note that recent polls have Elaine Marshall bridging the gap between her and Richard "Party of No/I'll do whatever my party leaders tell me to do" Burr. For anyone who's not a corporate drone or super rich, for people who actually care about their children's education, women's rights and the environment — this is good news, even if the polls are flawed.

It's a reminder that candidates can make a different despite the failure of national parties (the Dems aren't being helpful in North Carolina races at all; they're too busy funding races in California, Nevada and Delaware). It's also a reminder that people are still supportive of political leaders who are true Washington outsiders and those who don't rely on corporations or puppet masters for survival in Washington's shark-infested political waters.

Further reading:

Here's some insight into how national polls work, and how they're adjusted:

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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