Showing posts with label Political Polls. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Political Polls. Show all posts

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Political Polls: I Hate 'em, So Should You

By: T.R. Slyder,

I think just about every non-moron in the U.S feels that our political system is a bit screwy. Whether it's campaign finance regulations, the bipartisan system, earmark spending, candidate accountability, lobbyists, term limits, the electoral college, everyone despises something.

One thing I am growing to hate more and more are the political polls. They change the candidates agendas on the fly and erode the integrity and ingenuity of a candidate. It's difficult for a candidate to establish their main platform, because they always have an advisor whispering poll results in his ear. This whispering then obligates the candidates to spew disjointed sound-bytes just to pad their poll numbers.

McCain was running on the "I'll be the better Commander-in-Chief" platform, which seemed to be working, but once he saw the polls were indicating that the public felt Obama was the more likely agent of change, McCain had to go in a different direction and use the word "change" four times in every sentence and have Sarah Palin do the same. It's fair to say that not only is McCain not for change, but his supporters aren't either. That sentence wasn't meant pejoratively. A lot of conservatives like that McCain voted with Bush 90% of the time, and is in favor of the war. That's their opinion and that's fine. So McCain himself probably doesn't want sweeping changes brought to the US, other than the economy. If he were so gung-ho about change, he probably would have voted with Bush less. And that's fine. That's his platform. But the polls are forcing him to say things like, "I'll keep things the same (for you conservatives), but I'll also bring about radical changes (that's for you undecideds in the middle)." And of course, those are mutually exclusive. If McCain, and no one else in the world knew the exact percentages of people who favor change, he never would have half-heartedly veered off course.

I think that's a disservice to the American people. If you're a pro-lifer and you question McCain's Pro-lifeness, chances are you didn't do a 180 when he picked a VP, you just said "Well, what does the VP do anyway? She can't make him veto a bill he doesn't want to." And of course, you'd be right. She was picked to bolster McCain's numbers with pro-lifers in the conservative base. The same is true for Obama. The people who are most fearful of his ability to lead an Army, are the kind of people who favor the war, and those people will vote for McCain anyway. Probably half of the people that voted in the polls declaring McCain the better Commander-in-Chief, will still vote for Obama anyway, because they war isn't their pet issue; they just want it to end. Your wife may be awful at baking cookies, but you don't care because you don't like cookies anyway. Poor baking skills may be a big deal in some marriages, and a non-issue in others, and just because someone votes in a poll, doesn't men that they actually care. If asked to pick between the two, I'd bet dog pee tastes better than cat barf, but that doesn't mean I care.

So these polls are forcing McCain and Obama to pander to the "center" for votes, and it just alienates their bases. It makes them look like they have a multiple personality disorder by segmenting their speeches into an amalgamation of 20 different soundbytes about 20 different topics and making for a crappy speech. Do they mean that stuff? Of course not, they're just putting their finger in the dike (obligatory snicker) to prevent their numbers from slipping anymore. The poll-pressure makes the candidates strive to be everything to everyone, and that usually results in disappointment for the voter after their candidate is elected but ignores the topic that their sound-byte mentioned. Without the poll-pressures, they'd be able to write cogent, illuminating, progressive speeches about fewer topics that include more details about the topics that they and their bases care most about.

What the polls do is force the politicians to act like politicians and not people. Acting like a politician is what a lot of people hate about politicians.