Weekly Opinion Editorial
by Steve Fair
Forty-five days until the November general election and according to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, America is divided. The pollster included a ‘skewed’ question about the overturning of Roe vs. Wade, that showed 62% of Americans disagreed with the ruling. The poll showed Republicans have a slight advantage in voter enthusiasm, but both Parties are motivated to get out to vote. President Biden has an approval rating of 39%, with 53% strongly disapproving of the job the POTUS is doing. 57% of those polled believe Biden hasn’t accomplished much of anything. 31% of those polled said the Democrat Party is too permissive on abortion. 50% believe the Republican Party is too restrictive. Three observations about polls, no matter who is conducting them:
First, polls are often manipulated and contrived. Statistical sampling is the method pollsters use to measure voter interest. They poll a cross section of voters and then extrapolate and project the results to a confidence factor. Polls have been around since the early 1800s. In the 20th century, The Literary Digest, a magazine published by Funk & Wagnalls, conducted opinion polls on the presidential races. The Digest correctly predicted four straight races, but missed big in 1936 when they predicted Alf Landon would upset FDR. George Gallup found their method of soliciting people to send in postcards had given them a bad sample. It seems, Landon’s supporters had conspired to bias the poll by flooding the Digest with postcards.
How a question is asked, who is commissioning (paying for) a poll, and those polled not providing accurate and honest answers can result in poll cats providing erroneous and faulty information. Many push polls masquerade as opinion polls. A push poll is an interactive marketing technique where a campaign attempts to influence the polled’s views and manipulate their response.
Second, the only poll that matters is the one on Election Day. The phrase originated in Australian politics, but it’s repeated often in America- often by candidates who are behind in the polls. While true, polling, when conducted in a fair, unbiased, and scientific manner can be amazingly accurate. Exceptions have been the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections. Most preelection polls had Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden easily beating Donald Trump. According to a report from the American Association for Public Opinion Research, polls for the 2020 election were the worst in forty years and polling in state races was the worst in twenty years. Loss of objectivity by pollsters have resulted in a loss of public confidence in their accuracy.
Third, the economic poll is the one to watch. Pay attention to the inflation rate, the Consumer Price Index(CPI), the Gross domestic product(GDP), unemployment, interest rates and the price of crude oil. All of those aren’t trending well for the average American. The average Individual Retirement Account(IRA) decreased in value -18% since January 2022, wiping out $3 trillion in collective wealth of Americans. The stock market is down -20% during the same period. Crude oil is at a fifteen year high, resulting in high fuel prices at the pump. Inflation is over 9% this year. Food at home prices have increased by 11% this year. Most voters vote with their pocketbook, so it’s a safe conclusion the economic poll indicates they will vote out the Party in power.
The late Rush Limbaugh said: “Polls are just being used as another tool of voter suppression. The polls are an attempt to not reflect public opinion, but to shape it. Yours. They want to depress the heck out of you.” Nothing could depress Americans more than the economic indicators this year.
But that won’t stop poll cats from releasing fake polls indicating Americans are going to vote liberal in November, in the hope it will deflate conservatives. A pole cat is a weasel-like mammal, noted for ejecting a fetid fluid when threatened. Is there an odor in the air?