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Damn the polls


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I don't particularly like polls. They remind me of a democracy .. of mob rule. Whatever the majority of the people want the people get. Every time you hear some talking head deliver the latest poll results you get the idea that our political class is expected to immediately change our laws and policies to conform with the polls.

What you have with these polls is the news media covering news that it has created. Usually the questions are phrased in such a way that the media outlet conducting the poll is going to get just the response they're looking for .. a response that will fit neatly within some story that has essentially already been written.

Let's take a look at the latest Washington Post - ABC poll:

Sixty-five percent disapprove of how Bush is handling his job as president. Fine .. now just what does that say. Do they disagree because he has used too much force in Iraq, or not enough? Do they disagree because they think Bush hasn't spent enough on education, or because he spent too much? Do they disapprove because he has blocked government-funded stem cell research, or because he hasn't pushed for a Constitutional amendment banning abortion? What do these polls say? You don't really know, do you?

Seventy-one percent say that our country is on the wrong track. Fine ... but again, what does this mean? I think that our country is on the wrong track because we aren't reducing the size and power of the federal government. Others think that our country is on the wrong track because the federal government isn't doing enough. I think we're on the wrong track because we aren't moving toward comprehensive tax reform. Others think we're on the wrong track because taxes aren't high enough. I think that the country is on the wrong track because we aren't moving toward free market reforms in health care. Others think that we're not on the right track because we're not moving toward socialized medicine? So ... 71% think our country is on the wrong track, but what does that mean?

Yet another poll says 69% of Americans rate the current state of things in America as "poor." What? Iraq aside, we are currently in an economic boom...and yet for some reason, people are whining about how allegedly bad things are. Once again, the government education system and the mainstream media combine to give us a country filled with dunces. So what is so poor about America right now?

The answer is nothing. Things have never been better. Supposedly, more than half of those polled think the war on terrorism is going poorly. What are they talking about? Saddam Hussein was just executed. Al-Qaeda is on the run. We blew up Zarqawi. Maybe these people think the state of things is poor because that what they've been told day after day after day in the media for years now.

Then there's those who say rebuilding after Katrina is going poorly. Huh? How many people honestly know all that much about how rebuilding is going on the Gulf Coast? That's just the folks at the Harris Poll making up questions designed to get a certain answer. And then there is the usual whining about health care, taxes not being fair and so forth.

So the media doom and gloom campaign has worked. We're in the middle of one of the biggest economic booms of our lifetime and 69% of people polled think things are going poorly. Makes you wonder what people would think if things were truly going badly.

What purpose do these polls serve? None, really ... other than to provide media outlets with a story to run.


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