I’ll be the first to admit to you that I don’t deal well with numbers. I’ve been the victim of numeric dyslexia (also called dyscalculia) for my entire life – I just did learn that what I thought was ‘my stupidity’ where numbers were concerned was just that. Now I know I am defective but I’m not stupid. That said, I confess that polling data confuses me. I understand the basics, but today it is those very foundations of our polls which has me scratching my grizzled head.
Of course pollsters must start with an assumption. In the case of the Presidential race, the assumption they seem to begin with is – the incumbent will win all the states he won in 2008 – then they color the electoral map according to the changes they see in the current polls. The problem with this is, who said the President will win those blue states a second time?
Oh…maybe it’s a fairly safe assumption, but based on the hype I hear over the documentary “The Hope and The Change” there are plenty of people out there who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 who are now suffering from buyers remorse. They say they will not vote for him a second time. Count me “almost” among them. Not that I voted for him, but I thought the man had promise. That hope and change message he sold back then was powerful and, well, hopeful.
So, I’m wondering if anybody besides Pat Caddell and the producers of The Hope and The Change (which, by the way is coming soon to a television near you) have done any polling to see just how bad that buyer’s remorse is? The reason this information is so important is that, for every poll you see which has Barack Obama in the lead, the “hope” for a different administration and a changed approach to governing fades a little among those of us who don’t drink the Obama Kool-Aid. (This, by the way, is why the Department of Justice is suing the Gallup polling organization. They had the nerve to put out data back in April which indicated that Obama was trailing Romney. Gasp.)
If you tell a lie long enough, it eventually becomes true. So, if we’re painting the electoral map in favor of Obama in error, perhaps we need to start afresh. And soon.
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