"The Polls"; the ultimate self-fulfilling prophecy.
I have written before about how I hate polls. I repeat my opposition to polls here. I do this even as the Republicans supposedly enjoy an upswing in "the polls" that threatens to wipe out Democratic leads in the final day of the 2006 campaign.
As I wrote in April 2005, Polls serve the MSM/DNC as self-fulfilling prophesies:
4. Polls. An offshoot of ventriloquist journalism is the MSM/DNC's reliance upon polls. The polls that the MSM/DNC uses are either (1) unreliable or blatantly false and/or (2) self-fulfilling prophecies. It is a common tendency among humans (especially those who have been softened by 70 years of the welfare state) to want to be on the winning side. When the MSM/DNC releases its polls showing some Democrat with a lead or that the "public" thinks that Social Security is just fine, those who might otherwise harbor doubts are intimidated into going along with the majority. I am sure that the MSM/DNC will continue their efforts to bully the public into acquiescing in the status quo on social security with just this tactic.
We all know the extent to which exit polls were wildly wrong on election day 2004. Expect that same tactic this (and every) year.
Polls have destroyed the entire meaning of elections in recent years. We no longer seek information about the candidate or his beliefs. Instead, we seek to learn who is leading in "the polls". We support, work for, contribute to and even vote for candidates based on their "electability."
MSM/DNC broadcasts spend as much time talking about who is "ahead" in "the polls" as they do talking about issues. The key to victory for any candidate seems to be the ability to claim an early lead in "the polls" so that opponents will forever be hampered by the image of having to "come from behind."
In local elections, I have often heard acquaintances discuss candidates in terms of whether "he can win." These acquaintances will often distance themselves from a local candidate when it appears that the candidate is not in the lead. This is true even when that candidate agrees on the issues with those who keep their distance for fear of backing a losing candidate.
MSM/DNC broadcasts discuss any issue in terms of how it will affect "the polls" instead of how it will affect the nation and its future.
It is as if our country, its economy, our culture and our political processes exist to serve "the polls." The polls have become an end in and of themselves.
If polls were not so powerful as self-fulfilling prophecies, the MSM/DNC would not use them as weapons on a regular basis.
This fixation on polls also gives the impression that elections affect only the candidates themselves, like a sporting event, instead of the nation as a whole. Success or failure in Iraq, for example, is examined only insofar as it may help or hurt President Bush - as if President Bush is the only one who has a stake in the outcome. Very rarely does any MSM/DNC outlet mention the danger to America if terrorists are allowed to conquer Iraq. Five years after 9-11, terrorism is quickly being added to the list of items that can affect only "the polls."
"The polls" have attained status as an ancient oracle or even a temple that we humans must appease and before which we must bow. All considerations of philosophy, ethics and ideology must take a back seat, lest we upset "the polls." In exchange for this appeasement, "the polls" will give us guidance and will even smite our enemies with bad poll numbers, thus inhibiting their fundraising efforts and driving away their volunteers, supporters and voters.
Elections have become little more than sporting events. When we pick our candidate, we are doing the equivalent of gambling on a sports team. Just as we only gamble on the teams we expect to win, we only vote for the candidate that we think will get the most votes. Even the pretense of discussing issues is becoming unnecessary.
The whole point of elections in the 21st century is for the candidate to spend a year or more (plus his entire incumbency if he is lucky enough to win) convincing voters that he will get the most votes on the next election day.
It seems absurd and pointless when we say it this way, but perhaps this is what it will take to break the stranglehold that polls seem to have on our election process. Only when we identify what we are doing (only when we actually say that the emporer has no clothes), does the absurdity of the process become apparent. If the blogosphere can bring down such giants as CBS, Reuters, USAToday, CNN, AP, etc., we ought to be able to discredit the entire concept of polling. Otherwise, we will be forever condemned to joining the charade in which we spend every day doing nothing more than predicting the outcome of an event that takes place one day a year.