Thursday, November 09, 2006

What do pollsters do instead of thinking?

Some time ago, I foolishly signed up to receive e-mail invitations to a non-scientific poll service, and I can't help but wonder precisely how far into non-scientific silliness they can get. This week's questions are a case in point: "Are you happy that the Democrats are in control of the House?" , "Should electronic voting machines be scrapped until a paper trail can be established?", "Will the war in Iraq be the #1 issue for the 2008 Presidential election?", and, last but not least, "Should Rumsfeld be fired?"

Now, I'm all for admitting -- when asked -- that I have some links to a party. Because I like to have some voice in local primary elections, and because, in order to do so in Illinois (due to its closed primaries), I was forced to declare myself a Republican. I used to find I had more in common with that party than the other. Indeed, by and large, the old party basics were for less of that big-gummint intrusion into our lives, and more about individual independence, with support when necessary coming from local and state offices. The Feds are supposed to protect the rest of us from outsiders, guarantee our freedoms, keep the wheels of interstate commerce greased, and very little else, according to the Constitution (at least as far as I can find). In essence, I tend more toward what I'm told is rational libertarianism than toward anything else. If only the Libertarian party's leaders weren't such nutcases. And, so, I am usually stuck with mostly Republican choices. Oh, joy.

So, my point is, if you're a Democrat, of course you're happy your party has the majority. If you're a loyal Republican, you're probably not happy (unless you're one of those "teach-our-reps-a-lesson" Republicans I've heard so much about, and then you're probably not so much happy as you are smug and self-satisfied). The rest of us are withholding judgment until we see how the Democrats behave. If they're anything like the Republicans were, when they were in power, we're gonna be the unhappiest lot of voters you've ever seen, come '08.

As to question 2, I think just about every honest person wants a paper trail. When we have important transactions of any sort, we like to keep hard copies. I'd be happy if we went back to the paper ballots with the instructions to put your "X" inside the box. Other technology fails. No-brainer, unless your aim is to subvert the system. Like, if you're with ACORN.

Q. 3: What am I, a psychic? How the hell do I know how feelings toward Iraq -- let alone the actual war itself -- will be going in two years? How do I know there won't be something even more incredibly huge jumping out at us in the interim? What if there's a worldwide Great Depression, or NoKo blows up Seoul, or a huge meteor is sighted on a collision course with earth and we have to call upon a ragtag group of misfits to save us, or there's some new sex scandal involving a gay hooker, a bag of meth, and some unknown right-wing minister who spent a brief moment in the presence of a candidate some years back? The candidate's links to a high gay hooker consorting with a "bible-thumper" could collapse the gay lobby, for all I know.

Q 4, though, is the best. "Should Rumsfeld be fired?" Didn't Rummy submit his resignation? Why, then, should he be fired? Just accept the resignation. Duh.

Why do people ask such lame questions? Do they really think this guano is important? Moreover, why do I still answer them, each week? Jeez. I must be really nuts! Or just plain bored. maybe a litle of both.

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