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Tuesday, October 28, 2003


How many Polls does it take to predict an election?

Diving in to the cross-tabs of a public opinion poll is like reading tea leaves or tarot cards...you can find something you want to see, and something you don't, no matter what the data actually says. Of course, the fallacy of reading too much into a poll's cross tabs is that when you get down to the question of "how is candidate A doing among independent, caucasian women over 55 years old who list their most important concern as 'drugs and crime' and who feel the city is 'on the wrong track'..."...well, yes, I can give you that information, but the sample is so small that it ceases to be statistically significant or reliable.

Polling is about trends, or even possible trends, and how to continue them, or possibly reverse them...and all the time trying to "reach" voters with a "message" or a "vision" in an era when most voters are really just "voters"...

Our political system is grand, when it is utilized properly. Too often, now, we are in an era where politics is more about mis-information than it is about information, and while I can understand why this turns people off, the solution is NOT to be uninvolved.

I suppose it is a chicken and egg question: which came first, citizen apathy or a decline in the quality of our government and elected officials? My guess is, the answer lies somewhere in the middle of the equation. The solution, though, is for more people to be involved. The more people who are doing grass-roots level work, the less likely we are to be ruled by our inferiors...but as long as joe-citizen is content to ignore the governmental system unless and until it directly effects them (in a way that proves to be inconvenient to the status quo) we will continue in the path of decline we see our country wandering down.

There's a quote on a sticky not tacked up on my computer monitor...some day I'll have to look it up for attribution..."It is no accident that with the growing acceptance and toleration of mediocrity in sports, politics, and society, we also suffer through increased corruption." We are good at accepting mediocrity, even celebrating it quite often. This is the price we pay.


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