WASHINGTON, February 2, 2016 – It’s the day after the Iowa caucus and polls are becoming a reality of politics. Candidates and their campaigns spend a lot of money on pollsters.
Sometimes they pay for polls that project them far ahead in the campaign, and the polls are more wrong than they are right.
Donald Trump relies on the polls more than any other candidate, and he never fails to inform his audience how much the pollsters love him.
The problem is, Trump has apparently been relying on faulty data.
Throughout history, successful people have surrounded themselves with “Yes Men” who have one purpose in life: Saying anything the “Mighty One” wants to hear.
They will proclaim positive news as if their job depends on it, and their continued employment depends totally on the support that comforts the candidate.
In 2016, the polls are the “Yes Men” of the campaign.
It would not be so bad if the polls were accurate, but they are worse than accurate: They are downright misleading. Anyone who has ever submitted themselves to the prying indignity of a written or phone poll has reached the point during the interview where we realize that we are being steered.
If a poll victim never possessed a brain cell of opinion on a political issue presented by the pollster, they will be pressed to opine on their position about it. A No Opinion answer is treated like a failure, and we are asked to explain why we never had a shred of time in our consciousness when we thought about it.
Middle-aged men with grown children will be asked their opinions about same-sex marriage and abortion. We will all be asked about our position on semi-automatic weapons and whether we feel comfortable about carpet-bombing ISIS. In our realm of existence, we probably have a pistol in a locked box in our closet, and haven’t seen the bullets since Grandpa gave it to us back in the 1980’s. We are unsure what ISIS stands for, and carpet bombing is something that we do in the living room when our dog brought home fleas.
Don’t blame Americans for wanting to mess with pollsters. They are not owed the dignity of an answer. Many of us, in fact all of us, would be offended if a stranger approached us or called about our medical history and driving record, but pollsters have no qualms about asking for our opinion on issues that have no impact upon our lives.
Americans have begun to fight back, in a passive-aggressive sort of way.
We have begun to mislead the pollsters. We did it in 2012 when Romney took on an incumbent Obama, and the polls were off as much as 17%. If we had been unified and had told the pollsters that our vote at the exit polls was none of their business, our dignity as voters would have been further restored. Maybe if we informed them that we cast our vote in the primary for Daffy Duck and voted our conscience, honesty in politics would take another step forward. It really is none of their business.
“A poll of likely Republican voters” is the modern equivalent of preaching to the choir.
This brings us to polls about the candidates. How do we know who we want at this point? The Republicans have been debating and picking at each other for so long that we are beginning to treat the campaign as another episode of The Apprentice or even The Bachelor, and we are all astounded at the amount of money rich people and corporations will throw in the direction of any candidate who will do their bidding. Democrats are plagued with Hillary the Liar and Bernie the Socialist, and we have a smorgasbord of Republicans who refuse to give up and go home.
The Iowa Caucuses have made the race more interesting, for many reasons. Trump claims that he is so far ahead of Cruz in the New Hampshire polls that the outcome of the primary is obvious.
Sanders claims stake to the Democratic side of the ticket, due to his status as the Senator from the state next-door. You can sense the snickering of primary voters intent upon proving the polls wrong. Rubio may float to the top, or the long-awaited Jeb surge may upset all expectations. Until the polls are closed and the votes are tallied, even the pollsters don’t have a clue.
The media pundits are declaring that Cruz won in Iowa due to his campaign’s better ground game. It appears that Trump didn’t pass muster with evangelical voters, while Cruz proclaimed “Praise God!” at every opportunity.
It didn’t seem to matter with Democratic caucuses. In the end, it may be that Iowans don’t like New York accents or have strong views on cow-tipping, while they don’t give a hoot about which candidate’s wife or husband looks best in a bathing suit.
Voters should vote for the person in whom they place their trust to lead our country.
To Hell with the polls.