Thursday, May 31, 2012

Abolish polling

I'm increasingly convinced the media obsession with daily polling is at the root of our failed political discourse. They waste endless time and money on the polling, and then waste oceans of bandwidth analyzing the results. It's all meaningless. Elections don't rest on the past in this country. They're decided in the last days, more often than not, on some unpredictable seminal event.

We need to look no further back than the polls of 2008 showing McCain leading at various times right up to the economic meltdown. The people who spent their time telling us what it all means, were almost all wrong. These are the same people who are telling us what the 2012 polls mean. They're still wrong. They mean nothing. Even less nothing now that there's so many damn pollsters out there who daily come up with wildly varying results. Polls are easily manipulated. The results inevitably rest on who's paying to conduct them.

There are days I think we should just make them illegal. They do nothing to inform and much to harm the electoral process.

Addendum: And here pops up Sabato's Crystal Ball, who points out pollsters have only correctly predicted the outcome twice in the last eight elections. As he says, might as well just flip a coin.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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