The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

20 August 2006

Poll-ish jokes

Sean Gleeson has a complaint about the royal Timese machine:

The cover of the magazine shows Hillary's face, and underneath it only two choices, "LOVE HER" and "HATE HER." Purchasers of the magazine are invited to check one or the other option, and mail in the cover.

Since I will not be buying a copy of Time to register my choice, I will cast my vote here instead. And I vote for "LOVE HER."

No, I would not vote for Hillary, for any office. That's because I oppose her positions in matters of governance, and do not trust her to make decisions on my behalf. But I do love Hillary Clinton, and I hate no man, woman, or child. I am disappointed in Time's cavalier use of "love" and "hate" as a sort of shorthand, meaning approval or disapproval of the political opinions or actions of a human being. Is anyone else disgusted by this?

Political speech being debased almost by definition, and polling as a form of political speech being the most debased of all, I think I'm more frustrated than disgusted — what else could I expect?

And on the real poll, as Gleeson puts it:

... the one conducted with real statistical sampling. This poll didn't ask the respondents whether they "love" or "hate" Hillary, but that didn't stop [Ana Marie] Cox from pronouncing that "Republicans hate her." She knows this because most Republicans wouldn't vote for Hillary. This poll did ask some pretty pointless questions.

As do most of them, I suspect, and I think Xrlq might agree:

Recently we've read that 38% of Americans polled believe the U.S. government is withholding information about UFOs proof of the existence of intelligent life from other planets, and 36% think 9/11 was an inside job. Now, E&P reports that 39% of Americans polled think Muslims should be required to carry a special ID.

Time for my own poll. Is there any question so wacky that one-third of the population will not answer it in the affirmative?

I have long believed that people are fed up with the endless stream of polls, polls, polls, and will tell pollsters literally anything just to shut them the hell up. You want to know what the electorate thinks? Watch what they do in November.

Posted at 9:27 AM to Political Science Fiction


When pollsters call, I just tell them I work in the advertsing industry, and they usually have no further questions. For some reason, many pollsters are not allowed to include admen in their sampling. This almost always deters commercial pollsters, but I'm not sure if it would stop a political pollster.

Posted by: Sean Gleeson at 2:32 PM on 20 August 2006

One third of the public believes that Elvis is not dead. Who cares?

Your point is well taken.

Posted by: Miriam at 3:02 PM on 20 August 2006

"Love" Hillary? "Hate" her? My feeling about her is the opposite of both.

She ain't gonna be president. She ain't even gonna be the nominee. She may even decide not to run at all. So why care?

Posted by: McGehee at 8:17 AM on 21 August 2006