I just don’t understand people’s obsession with “political polls”, the surveys which indicate how citizens are thinking of voting. For example, people might be asked, “If the election were held today, at this very minute, who would you vote for?” Am I taking crazy pills? I might as well ask people, “If the election were …
" /> Jason Holborn | Cybercarnet/Weblog - i r dumb...

i r dumb…

I just don’t understand people’s obsession with “political polls”, the surveys which indicate how citizens are thinking of voting.

For example, people might be asked, “If the election were held today, at this very minute, who would you vote for?”

Am I taking crazy pills? I might as well ask people, “If the election were held today, would you vote for George Bush or Al Gore?”

The election ISN’T today. It’s at a different point in time when your answer may or may not be what your answer is today, right now. Often I want a hamburger, and think of eating one. I just as often end up cooking some quinoa and kale and yams.

Recently CalgaryGrit (quite a polling fan and number-crunching enthusiast) has written a bit about flaws in some polling methodologies (in certain polls) which lead to woefully mistaken expectations and predictions. Despite my total lack of interest in polls, I found this interesting reading.

Personally, I think political parties are a destructive force which harm democracy. I also am uncomfortable with how much time and energy and money and focus they put into these very polls. If they worked as hard on studying and experimenting with policy ideas, we’d all be living in a cooler and better world. These polls are all a waste, of theirs/ours time, energy, money, and focus. Half the public conversation about elections is, somehow, bizarrely enough, about “who is winning the poll numbers” rather than “what proposals for the future are being introduced”.

Here’s a weblogger justifying polls:

“polls drive media coverage, fundraising and candidate strategy. They also affect voters’ judgments about who is electable and who has momentum”

Yet, that all sounds like wasteful nonsense to this cat. Our political system should be about creating equal opportunities for all, reducing war and poverty, creating peace and prosperity, fostering justice, and making improvements — not “media coverage”, “fundraising”, and “candidate strategy”. Who has “momentum” is irrelevant; so is “electability”. Intelligent people can make choices without checking in with “everyone else” to find out who has “momentum” and “electability”.

Right now, people are asking about our voting intentions between Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair in the next election, which I believe is in two years’ time. Honestly, how am I to know who I’m voting for in two years?? I’m tired of Stephen Harper’s style, but within two years, he could have negotiated peace in the Middle East and greeted Aliens passing by Earth. Maybe I like Stephen Harper today, but in two years will be disgusted with Senate money scandals. Who knows?

People interested in politics put a lot of time and energy and focus (and often, money) into discussing, “Who knows?” It’s conjecture and I don’t see the point or value. Obviously, the parties and politicians get a great deal of “value” from polls in terms of directing their internecine energies towards Mutually Assured Real-Time Destruction Wars, but I believe that to a sane person, they’re wasting our time (and energy and focus and money).