Saturday, September 18, 2004

Polls Don't Cell

Isn't it perplexing at how many political polls there are these days? And they seem to come out practically daily.

All the major media companies have polling. They want the poll so that they can create some more news because they use the poll results as news. The media isn't satisfied with just reporting on the presidential campaigns, what John Kerry proposes or the latest George Bushism. They want polls to measure the horserace aspect.

"And here they come around the bend. It looks like Cruisin' Kerry in the lead, followed closely by Bush Bash, and Nader Raider trails. Bush Bash moving up. Cruisin' Kerry holding the lead. Bush Bash is making his move on the outside. Bush Bash passes Cruisin' Kerry. Bush Bash and Cruisin' Kerry neck and neck coming in. It's Bush Bash leading by a nose. No it's Cruisin' Kerry. Wait, now it's Bush Bash. No, Cruisin' Kerry. Bush Bash, Cruisin' Kerry, down to the wire....IT'S...."

This is the only purpose of the media polls, to try to track the candidates in a way that gives some excitement like a sporting event. So the polls are just mini stories created by the media that uses them as stories. It feels sort of akin to CNN sending in an employee to rob a bank and then showing up with the cameras to cover the theft.

Funny thing though, who knows if they are really accurate. It turns out that cell phones are never called by pollsters because the area codes don't reflect a specific location. A pollster trying to find out how the voters in Ohio feel that day have to ignore cell phone numbers because they can't know if they are calling an Ohio voter. So only land line phone users are in poll results. This eliminates a huge portion of young people and others who have become cell users only.

We still have our land line as well as cell phones. But I don't understand with all these polls and living in a swing state why my land line phone isn't ringing off the hook from pollsters calling. In fact I've yet to have even one pollster call me. I mean geez, I'm more than a "likely voter" as I would have to be dead not to go cast my vote against Bush. Even if I were to die a few days before election day, I'd like to find a way to have someone haul me up there in a wheelbarrow and guide my hand to any candidate but Bush.

I don't trust these polls. When you dig into their methodology and find that the various polls use different means of collecting data, or emphasize "likely voters" or "registered voters" or weigh Republican voters more than Democratic ones, it becomes just a crap shoot for results.

So now I know for instance that polls don't cell and I ain't buying.



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