Sunday, September 25, 2022


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?



James L. said...

Boy oh boy, Steve, have I enjoyed not commenting for a while, but this one I couldn't resist. I hope you've been doing well.

In a piece bashing the validity of polls as a means of sampling public opinion, you begin by citing a poll that concludes the country is divided, and throughout the rest of this post you have used divisive language. That's a very calculated tactic you use in many of your posts. Maybe that poll result was accurate after all?

You follow the opener with a paragraph of statistics, which, according to you, are in no uncertain terms a waste of time. For example: Republicans have a slight advantage in this election? Doubt. The Democratic president's approval rating is low? Doubt. Biden hasn't accomplished much? Doubt. Don't call polls "skewed" and "fake" but also somehow cite them with confidence when they're in your side's favor in the same post. Your audience is smarter than that (right?).

Your first point is that polls can be manipulated and contrived. This precedes your brief explanation of polling that is meant for anyone who reads your blog who has never heard of a poll before. I applaud you for enlightening your readers who haven't yet passed the fourth grade.

There's some historical notes about how one specific poll was right four times in a row, but not five, as by the year 1936 postcards were going out of fashion. Of course, according to your own words, this must have been the work of a conspiracy against the polling agency.

I'm honestly not sure what point you're trying to get across with the next paragraph other than that some people lie and big companies can be deceitful. I'll leave it at that because I can't disagree.

Your second point actually highlights how polls can sometimes be accurate, specifically the official election day polls. In a manner reminiscent of a rambling old man, you rapidly springboard from this point to reference the two most recent presidential elections as having inaccurate polls. The polls conducted on those election days, which as I understand are the only ones that matter, favored the Democratic candidate in both instances. As with all presidential elections in the US, the 2016 election was decided by the Electoral College in favor of the Republican candidate, but that candidate somehow lost the popular vote to the Democrat. If the vote of everyone in America held the same weight, the candidate who won the popular vote would have become the president-elect. So much for all votes being equal.

In addition to the 2016 election polls whose results you claim were inaccurate, you also imply that the 2020 results were another "exception" to the rule. While it's true that Donald Trump won the 2020 election in an unprecedented landslide victory over the communist liberal Joe Biden, the results of the election day poll miraculously came out in Biden's favor in not only the popular vote but the Electoral College vote as well. This would lead a rational person to believe that the election must be fraudulent because polls are skewed lies and Trump is being harassed by the left in a perpetual witch hunt.

You make a real hail-Mary of a third point that has nothing at all to do with the first two other than the theme of polls, and, as if you think your readers can still trust poll results after all of that, you cite even more statistics.

And if by this point your readers have even the slightest ambiguity on your opinion of the trustworthiness of polls, you drive the point home with a quote by the ever-truthful Rush Limbaugh.

But wait, there's more! Instead of ending your post with a quote by a fat, dead white man who believed tobacco didn't cause cancer, you go fully unhinged and declare that polls favoring liberals are fake and equating the people who make them to foul-smelling weasels.

In a poll conducted by yours truly with a sample size of 1, I've found that 100% of those polled believe your post to be pandering propaganda that aims to divide Americans further and provide no solution to the problem you have addressed. But not all polls can be believed.

Steve Fair is a Jelly Salesman. said...

Thanks for reading.