** “Public opinion polls are rather like children in a garden, digging things up all the time to see how they’re growing.”
J.B. Priestley / English Novelist – Broadcaster
It used to be that no one would discuss their politics with you … much less tell you how they voted.
Now, most everyone wants to share opinions … AND … tell you how to vote.
Once as a teenager, I tried to discuss politics with my Granddad.
I asked his opinion about a Presidential Candidate, and Granddad looked at me as if I were the proverbial sheep killing dog.
He pointed his pipe at me and said, “There are two things in life, you never discuss with anyone else: religion and politics.”
That was the end of that conversation.
I learned that Granddad was not unique in that attitude when my Boy Scout Troop did a door to door political survey.
It was not much as to get an understanding of how the vote might go in an election, but rather to teach us about politics, and of course, earn a Merit Badge.
The first lady shut the door in my fact. One guy threatened to call police. The next guy shouted: It’s un-American to discuss politics!
Of course, now, pollsters call anyone and everyone. Those don’t get called for a survey are calling radio and tv shows … volunteering their political opinions.
And of course, there’s the internet and all social media including this post where readers and bloggers can post political comments any time of the day or night … whenever the mood strikes.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been called for a political poll.
That might be because once a survey group called me and asked: Do you prefer chocolate or vanilla ice cream? I probably screwed up any chance of ever being asked another survey question when I answered: Both, in a swirl.
Then, there’s the issue of … how accurate or these polls? Or even if they are accurate, how are they interpreted and presented after being massaged and turned “just so” to get the “right” answer?
I know you’ve heard the line: Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.
** “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Mark Twain **
So, have you ever been called for a poll on politics or anything serious (not that the ice cream poll wasn’t serious)?
When you see those polls, do they reflect your opinion or do you think: Who are they asking to get such stupid answers?
I can see some heads shaking on that last question.
Fact is, polls are now part of our American fabric.
They might be valid or they might be wrong by mistake or design … but they continue to exist — creating images of Americans or at least checking to see which way the wind is blowing … and always making money for the pollsters.
I don’t think Granddad would like all of this.
I do know that if called, he would foul up the surveys or at least force pollsters to redesign their questions:
D. Too Grumpy to tell us what you think
** “I haven’t trusted polls since I read that 62% of women had affairs during their lunch hour. I’ve never met a woman in my life who would give up lunch for sex.” Erma Bombeck